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December 7, 1984

The Pediatric Vaccine Controversy: What Should the Doctor Do?

Author Affiliations

Salt Lake City

JAMA. 1984;252(21):3013-3014. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350210061034

When Senator Paula Hawkins (R, Fla) held hearings on her vaccine injury compensation bill (S. 2117) this summer, videotapes were shown that depicted children who had been injured by pediatric vaccines. The audience watching the video segment was visibly moved. Many may have been led to conclude that diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccination causes more problems than it solves.

Some parents were bitter because state laws require administration of vaccines that (they allege) killed or maimed their child. Others were critical because their physician had not warned them of the risk of DTP immunization prior to administration.

At the same hearing, other parents called for repeal of state laws that require immunization as a condition of entry into school. Vaccine manufacturers were criticized for failing to produce safer vaccines. Pediatricians testified that some of their colleagues are no longer administering vaccines because of concern about being sued (for failure to warn adequately