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The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library) Paperback – October 22, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 407 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sears, coauthor of several books in the Sears Parenting series, addresses one of today's most controversial and worrisome questions. Sears' goal is "to give you a balanced look at pros and cons of vaccination so that you can make an educated decision." Sears does not advocate for or rail against vaccination, stating it doesn't have to be an all or nothing decision-there are choices. The first 12 chapters discuss each vaccination in the childhood series, providing explanation of the relative disease, how the vaccine is made and points to assess a child's at-risk level when considering if the vaccine is necessary. Sears does offer guidance for those who are indecisive, offering his opinion based on clinical experience and 13 years of research taken from product inserts, pediatric reference books, articles and databases. Additional chapters illuminate more controversial aspects of the debate, such as how vaccine safety is researched and what the findings are, side effects and how to minimize them, common myths and questions. As always, Sears' tone puts readers at ease as he clearly explains medical terms and elucidates debates.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


An exhaustively researched guidebook. (Newsday)

It's the most evenhanded and thorough look at baby immunizations we've yet seen. (Babytalk)

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Product Details

  • Series: Sears Parenting Library
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316017507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316017503
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (407 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sue Stuever Battel on November 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As soon as I heard Dr. Bob Sears would be releasing a book to help parents make vaccine decisions, I pre-ordered it and waited two months for it to be published and arrive on my doorstep.

The Vaccine Book was well worth the wait. Finally, I was able to read detailed information about each vaccine choice available for my children. Dr. Sears thoroughly investigates all the options and lays them on the table for parents to decide. I worried that this approach might be a little wishy washy and leave me with more questions than answers, but he manages to get everything out there.

I've read plenty of pro-vax and no-vax literature. Most is either staunchly against any immunizations or suggests that parents should ask no questions and just do what the nice doctor says. There are even a few things written somewhere in between, in which the authors present their recommendations. It's hard to find something that presents all the facts so parents can make educated decisions. This book did it for me.

The Vaccine Book is very readable. Dr. Sears writes in language a layperson like me can easily understand. His conversational style makes it feel like he's sitting and talking to me. He's even a little funny at times. I especially enjoy his use of Star Trek wisdom (p. 220).

He goes through each of the 12 standard vaccine choices and answers the same questions for each vaccine-preventable disease: Is it common? Is it serious? Is it treatable? When is the vaccine given? How is the vaccine made? What ingredients are in the final solution? (Including "Are any of these ingredients controversial?") What are the side effects? Should you give your baby this vaccine?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book in the mail yesterday and have already finished it. It's great! For each disease, Dr. Sears lists the following questions: What is this disease? Is it common? Is it serious? Is it treatable? When is the vaccine given? How is it made? What ingredients are in the final solution? Are any of these ingredients controversial? What are the side effects? He then lists the reasons to get the vaccine, the reasons NOT to get the vaccine, travel considerations and his own opinion. These are exactly the questions that I wanted answered.

I would say that Dr. Sears is pro-vaccination, but also for a selective/separated vaccination schedule. He provides such a schedule in his book. He also discusses the controversies surrounding some of the ingredients in the vaccines, namely aluminum and human/animal tissues. This section will make any parent pause and question whether they really want these things injected into their child. He drew his information from the medical literature (or lack thereof in some cases). He provides a detailed "Resource" section at the end of the book so that you can pull all of his journal article, if you so choose.

Overall, this book was informative and well-balanced. Dr Sears does not go into great depth with each vaccine, which makes the book light reading, especially for a book on vaccinations. If you would like a more in-depth analysis, I would recommend Aviva Jill Romm's book "Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parents Guide".
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I really liked this book. It is written by a mainstream, famous medical doctor. He's the darling of La Leche League, has written several books, and been on TV. He provides a lot of good research as to why we don't need to follow the traditional vaccine schedule.

Chapter 1-A note to fellow physicians
He says "we receive little information on vaccines, other than that they are safe and effective..." He also says that a number of pediatricians have dismissed families who won't vaccinate, and that goes against what the American Academy of Pediatricians says a doctor should do. Instead, continued refusal to vaccinate after adequate discussion should be respected, and doctors should avoid dismissing patients from their practice simply because they don't vaccinate.

I don't like the order he uses to discuss each vaccine. If I were doing it, I would have gone in the order the vaccines are given. I have no idea how he chose his order. But chapter 2 is about the HIB.

Chapter 2-haemophilus influenzae type B and the HIB vaccine

Haemophilus influenzae type B is a bacterium that normally remains in the nose, ears or throat and only causes cold symptoms. Only rarely does it invade further into the body, but it can on occasion and has been know to cause serious illness such as meningitis, blood infections, bone infections and pneumonia. There are only about 25 serious cases a year today, although in the `80s there were about 200,000 cases per year. Of the serious cases there is about a 5% fatality rate and in 25% of the cases there is residual brain damage. A serious infection is rare beyond age 3. It is treated with intravenous antibiotics.

In vaccine trials more babies who received the vaccine caught a serious infection than the unvaccinated.
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Format: Paperback
I am a holistic health practitioner specializing in children's care. I like to provide reference books for parents who are looking at taking back control of their family's health by learning about alternatives to the Western medical model. A lot of parents have concerns about vaccinations these days, and since I fully support the Attachment Parenting model that Dr. Sears espouses, I was looking forward to the views presented in this book on childhood vaccinations. What I found in this book was a very middle of the road and cautionary view on limiting vaccinations. Dr. Sears simply restates the information found on the vaccine packages, inserts, and governmental information already out there. While he does state his personal opinions as to how effective or dangerous these vaccinations are, most of his opinions are still in favor of the recommended vaccination schedule of the CDC. There was very little information included in the book from independent researchers on the efficacy and dangers of vaccines. However, he does include some good information, such as an ingredient list of each vaccine, vaccination schedules, sides effects, and travel considerations. This book took the tone of a doctor trying to not stir the waters within his own profession, but also trying to be compassionate to the concerns of his patients. Overall, it came out feeling a little flat. I would recommend The Vaccine Guide by Randall Neustaedter OMD in addition to this book if people are looking for more information from the holistic side of the fence.
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