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Take your best shot

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Quit fear-mongering about childhood immunizations

By Kirsten Peters

When I was a youngster in the 1960s, I had all the shots little kids went through back in the day.
And because I’m a klutz and regularly hurt myself outdoors, I’ve periodically had my tetanus immunity updated. A few years ago I underwent a series of shots for rabies after having a scary adventure with an ill coyote.
Last summer I got the shingles vaccine when my assistant was suffering from a shingles outbreak.
And to round it all out, tonight after work I’ll be getting the influenza vaccine for this season’s strains of flu virus.
My long history of receiving vaccinations – even including the potent shots given for rabies – has not caused me more than temporary discomfort.
I’m truly glad I live in a time and place where vaccines are available for many infectious illnesses.  
Simply put, I’m puzzled that millions of Americans fear potential side-effects of vaccines more than they fear the diseases against which the shots can protect us.
In a recent NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll, an amazing 21 percent of those interviewed said they believe that autism is linked to vaccines.


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