Saturday, December 14, 2002

A vaccine kids can't get

I've been worrying off and on about whether I'll have my kids vaccinated for smallpox when the opportunity's offered, and here it turns out I've been worrying for nothing: according to an Associated Press report, there are currently no plans to provide the vaccine for children at all, unless there's an actual outbreak and all safety bets are off. Although testing a drug on children before prescribing it for them has hardly been considered a necessity in most other areas of medicine, it is apparently giving pause here -- and since a vaccine that has major health risks of its own can't ethically be tested on children, the tots will just have to go un-immune for now. Would that such caution extended to other vaccines as well.

If your unvaccinated little ones are nonetheless curious about the potential scourge of smallpox, there's a child-friendly FAQ on the KidsHealth site. Mom and Dad can get more details from a FAQ from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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