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February 1980

Commentary on Immunization

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of California Medical Center San Francisco, CA 94143

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(2):130-132. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130140004002

Schedules for immunization against childhood infections have been issued periodically by select committees from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service. These schedules are especially appropriate for public health clinics, but the private physician may have reasons of his own to set up alternative patterns.

In The Hazards of Immunization, Wilson1(p2) defended freedom to oppose majority opinions and believed that long-adopted practices should periodically be critically scrutinized "lest the accumulated weight of precedent is allowed to obscure the need for their discontinuance."

Immunizations have greatly decreased the incidence of several common diseases in childhood; there is the possibility that some have only been deferred to adult years. The effectiveness of each agent cannot be compared directly with others, nor can any new agent be instantly accepted because of its resemblance to one that has been proved effective. Moreover, no vaccine should be inviolate of scrutiny and