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Pediatrician - New York
1125 Park Avenue (at E. 90th Street) 
New York, NY 10128
(212) 289-1400

Why vaccinate?

Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine.  More lives are saved, more suffering is prevented, and more severe illness avoided each year through vaccines than by almost any other means at our disposal.

A vaccine allows your child to become immune to a specific virus or bacteria without suffering through natural infection.  By exposing your child to a dead or weakend virus or to a piece or product of a bacterium or virus, we expect to make her immune.

The great value of vaccines is that they substitute a tiny risk (of reactions to the vaccine) for the high risk of serious disease that can occur via natural infection.  It is true that every vaccine may occasionally cause reactions; however, most reactions are very mild and will be over in a day or two.  In rare instances, unpredictable, harmful reactions may occur.  Many parents ask," Why should I allow you to give my child any product that could possibly harm her ?" The answer is simple. You are taking a greater chance that harm will befall your child by not vaccinating. All vaccines that we recommend for your child meet this criterion: the expected good from the vaccine (protection from serious disease)  is far greater than any risk of harm from the vaccine itself.

 In other words, the chances of catching whooping cough, or measles, or another now preventable disease, and of severe illness( hospitalization, pneumonia, seizures, brain injury or even death) is much greater than the miniscule risk of severe harm from the vaccine.  We recommend these vaccines (and want all children including our own to be vaccinated).


 It is a fairly popular belief that vaccines can cause a child to develop autism.  This belief is simply wrong! THERE IS NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that the MMR or any other vaccine causes autism.  In fact, each of  the many studies of this issue shows that there is no link between the  MMR vaccine and autism. Similarly, vaccine combinations do not cause autism; therefore, giving vaccines individually instead of in combination will not prevent autism. Thimerosal (" mercury") also is not a cause of autism.  However, none of the vaccines that we administer to your child contain thimerosal.

DPT  ( Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus)

DIPTHERIA can obstruct normal breathing and can damage the heart.  It is fatal in up to 50% of children.PERTUSSIS (whooping cough) is a terrible illness in infants.  The cough can be so severe the child turns blue. Brain damage or seizures can occur, and one in 25 infants will die.
There is still whooping cough in New York, our country and throughout the rest of the world. TETANUS (lock jaw), can result from a contaminated wound.  The bacteria that cause tetanus are present in soil all over the world.

We use acellular DPT  vaccine which causes far fewer reactions.

The DPT vaccine is given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, with boosters at 15 months, 4 to 6 years and 11 to 12 years of age. Mild reactions ( fever, crankiness, injection site redness and swelling, or a lump at the injection site) are common in the 24 to 36 hours after a DPT shot.


 DPT booster doses for adults are recommended every 10 years. This is especially important if there is a newborn infant in the family. Infant's usually aquire whooping cough from mildly ill adults; to protect your infant, make sure that you and other household members are vaccinated.


Pneumococcus is currently the major bacterial cause of childhood meningitis, bacteremia (bloodstream infection) and pneumonia.  It is responsible for many ear and sinus infections as well.

About 85% of all cases of meningitis, bacteremia and pneumonia are caused by the 13 strains of pneumococcus that are present in this vaccine.  The vaccine is also expected to prevent up to 10% of all ear infections.  The most common reactions to this vaccine are sore arm and fever.  Four doses are given at 2, 4, 6 and 12 to 15 months of age.


Hepatitis, or yellow jaundice, is a viral infection of the liver. Hepatitis B infrequently affects children  but is more common amongst teenagers and adults.  Acute hepatitis B infection is occasionally very severe.  Five to 10% of infections become chronic, with a risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.  This vaccine is effective, safe and causes very few reactions.  The vaccine for hepatitis B is made by a synthetic genetic engineering process.  It is not made from a blood product. Three doses of vaccine are given.


Hepatitis A is caused by a virus which spreads via food and on fingers, is an unpleasant illness that occasionally (0.1%) causes acute liver failure or death.  It is milder in children and more severe in adults.  However, children with mild disease spread it to other family members.  The vaccine contains no live virus.  Two doses, at least 6 months apart, are given to children after their first birthday.  Injection site redness and soreness and fever following the vaccine occur in a minority of children.


Neisseria meningitidis is the most common cause of meningitis in adolescents and adults.  If one is infected, the illness can progress rapidly and can be fatal.  The meningococcal vaccine consists of pieces of the outer shell of 4 of the 5 strains of the bacteria.  This vaccine is currently recommended for adolescents at ages 11 and before college entrance.  We also recommend that children under 11 years old get the vaccine if they will go to sleep over camp. A sore arm and low  grade fever are infrequent side effects of the vaccine.


In recent years, serious outbreaks of meningitis due to the "b" strain of meningococcus have occured in a small number of college campuses. The b strain is not included in the menigococcal vaccine given at age 11 and 16. A vaccine specifically to prevent infections with meningococcal b strain is avaiable and may be given to teens about to enter college. Two doses, at least one month apart are given. Reactions are similar to the meningococcal vaccine desribed above. 


The HIB vaccine protects children from infections due to Haemophilus influenza type B.  Until recently this bacterium was a major cause of meningitis in children.  It can also cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections and epiglottitis.  Since the vaccine was introduced in the late 1980s, the number of these infections has dropped dramatically.  Reactions to the HIB vaccine are rare.  Three to 4 doses of this vaccine are given at ages 2, 4, 6 and 15 months.


 In the past 40 years, polio, a major killer and cause of muscle paralysis in children, has vanished from our country. To keep our children protected, we must continue to vaccinate.  The polio (Salk)  vaccine, which consists of killed polio virus particles, is given by an injection.  Reactions and side effects to this vaccine are rare.


Rotavirus infection results in" winter vomiting disease". Each year we see numerous children who suffer from this intestinal virus and required office medical care and occasionally IV hydration and hospitalization.  This oral vaccine contains live weakened strains of the virus which result in immunity to many rotavirus infections.  This oral vaccine is given at  2, 4 and 6 months of age.


 This vaccine combines mild strains of measles, mumps and rubella viruses. MEASLES is a severe disease in infants and young children and may result in pneumonia, dehydration encephalitis or even death. MUMPS, an infection of the salivary glands, also can affect the pancreas, ovaries or testes.  Mumps was once a major cause of both viral meningitis and hearing loss before widespread use of this vaccine. Outbreaks continue to occur. RUBELLA (German measles) is seldom a serious disease in children or adults.  However it can seriously damage an unborn baby.  We vaccinate everyone against rubella to limit its spread.  This insures that a pregnant woman does not catch rubella and pass the infection to her fetus.  The live viruses in the MMR vaccine do not spread from the vaccinated child to others.  The MMR vaccine does not cause autism.  This vaccine is given between 12 and 15 months of age and again when your child reaches school age.


While many cases of chickenpox are mild, others result in major discomfort with fever and intense itching.  Scarring of the skin and secondary bacterial infections can occur.  Before the advent of the vaccine (Varivax), more than 100 people a year died in the U. S. as a result of chickenpox.  The vaccine is given after your child's first birthday.  It contains a mild live strain of the chickenpox virus.  Not all children are fully protected after receiving one dose of the vaccine, therefore a second booster dose of the chickenpox vaccine is given at 4 years of age. About 10% of children develop a handful of chickenpox spots 7 to 14 days after vaccination.  If this occurs, your child is not contagious.  It is extremely rare for a child to develop a full-blown case of chickenpox from the vaccine; however, in such a case it is possible for vaccine virus to spread to others who are susceptible to chickenpox.


Human papilloma viruses (HPV) have long been known to cause warts; only recently have we learned that certain strains produce infection of the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer.  HPV are sexually transmitted from person to person and are extremely common among sexually active young adults. Studies have shown that over a third of adolescents and young adults become infected with at least one HPV strain upon their first sexual experience.  Only certain HPV strains are capable of causing genital warts or inducing cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccine contains the strains that most commonly cause genital warts or cancer.  The virus in the vaccine is killed virus.  Minor reactions (soreness or swelling at the injection site; aches, fever) are fairly common, but serious reactions are quite rare.  Studies have conclusively shown the the HPV vaccine markedly decreases the occurrence of genital warts and pre-cancerous cervical lesions. 

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APRIL Weekend On-Call  Schedule 

 4/1-4/2     Barry Stein, MD

4/7-4/9      Melissa Goldstein, MD  

4/14-4/16  Neal Kotin, MD

4/21-4/23  Jennifer Trachtenberg,  MD

4/28-4/30   Melissa Goldstein, MD