Vaccines have prevented the spread of numerous illnesses, and some have
even been annihilated. Administered soon after birth and for several years
after, childhood vaccination helps provide immunity in the human body
against certain dangerous diseases, such as polio, measles and mumps.
Pulse recently spoke with Rita Tenenbaum, MD, aboard-certified pediatrician at
Torrance Memorial Physician Network, with a secondary certification in
clinical homeopathy/ integrated medicine, to learn more about vaccines.
WHAT VACCINATIONS ARE BABIES TYPICALLY GIVEN AT THEIR FIRST VACCINE APPOINTMENT?
Hepatitis B, rotavirus (RV), DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis),
Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b, PCV (pneumococcal), and polio (IPV).
The MMR vaccine, which protects against mumps, measles and rubella, is
given in two doses: at 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years of age.
DO YOU HAVE A RECOMMENDATION FOR PATIENTS WHOSE PARENTS MAY BE CONCERNED
ABOUT THEIR INFANTS AND CHILDREN BEING GIVEN TOO MANY VACCINES AT ONE TIME?
If aparent is concerned about their child receiving too many vaccines at
once, I’ll administer their child’s vaccines on an alternate
schedule. For example, I’ll give two vaccines at a time at months
two, three, four, five and six, versus more vaccines at once at months
two, four and six—adding months three and five on the alternate schedule.
ARE THERE ANY PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS RESURGENT DISEASES RIGHT NOW?
Mumps is a significant disease that can seriously impact both girls and
boys. Among the consequences seen with a mumps infection, girls who are
infected with mumps may suffer permanent hearing loss and boys can experience
orchitis (an inflammation of the testicles) that can lead to low sperm
count in adulthood.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND A CREDIBLE WEBSITE FOR PARENTS WHO WANT TO READ MORE
Two good websites are: The American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org/
and The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules.
IS THERE ANYTHING NEW REGARDING VACCINES?
Yes, the last few years we’ve seen a new vaccine added for meningococcal
disease called Meningitis B vaccine, for patients 16-25 years of age.
This provides immunization for serotype B. The previous vaccine for meningitis
called Menactra is still used and covers four serotypes (AWCY). The first
dose is administered at age 12, and the second dose is given between ages
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF A PARENT OF ONE OF YOUR PATIENTS REFUSED TO ALLOW
THEIR CHILD TO RECEIVE VACCINES?
As a physician, my job is to educate my patients and their parents and
provide the best medical care and information. It’s my professional
decision to still see patients whose parents refuse vaccinations. I prefer
to keep these patients in my practice so I can monitor them for the chance
of development of vaccine preventable diseases. This is the right thing
to do in my opinion. Also, these same children still need medical care
for routine problems.
In the end, it’s the parent’s choice. No one can force a parent
to agree to a vaccine if they don’t want it for their child. However,
the schools in California require children receive their vaccines before
they enter school. Forparents who don’t get their children immunized,
their option is homeschooling.
Vaccines have been vilified by some people and a lot of misinformation
is out there. When some diseases are no longer a threat, we can forget
why that is. It’s because of vaccines. People can become lax and
forget that before vaccines, communities were literally under siege and
could not function due to outbreaks of illnesses that can now be prevented
The Torrance Memorial Physician Network Pediatricians operate at two locations
in the South Bay. For more information, go to