The Vaccine Book – PediaCast 080

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The Interview Edition

Today, Dr Bob Sears drops by to talk about his latest writing project: The Vaccine Book.



Announcer: This is Pediacast.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Bandwidth for PediaCast is provided by Nationwide Children's Hospital. For every child, for every reason.


Announcer: Welcome to PediaCast.& A pediatric podcast for parents.& The Interview Edition. And now direct from Birdhouse Studios, here is your host, Dr. Mike.

Dr. Mike Patrick:& Hello, everyone.& And welcome to PediaCast.& It is episode 80 for Tuesday, November 13th, 2007.& And today we're going to have an Interview Edition.& Going to have Dr. Bob Sears along, he is the author of a new book that's out called "The Vaccine Book".& And it's a great book.& It really looks at the different vaccines that are out there and the diseases that they prevent. &


And really gives a good objective look at the pros and cons of the vaccines based on scientific research.& And I will tell you, he does not approach vaccines as you have to have them done.& Of course, like most pediatricians, he thinks that the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh any risks.& But his job in this book is to really present an objective view of what's out there, that's really well done from a scientific stand point and look at the advantages and the disadvantages, the benefits and risks.& So I really encourage you to check out this book.& And of course in the Show Notes, we'll have a link to the book's homepage and from there you can find a reseller.& But, and I'm not making a kick back of this book at all. I just think it's really well done and I would encourage moms and dads to get a hold of it. &


All right, you notice yesterday, I did not mention the Ohio State football loss.& Cause I was still in the morning.& I still couldn't even talk about it.& If someone had told me at the beginning of the season that we would have one lost going into the Michigan game, which I can say that state's name now, because we are once they're the next team playing at our house, we are allowed to just say the name. So, if someone had told me you'd had one lost going into the Michigan game and if you've won against Michigan, you would probably go to the Rose Bowl and probably play the Pack 10 Champion. Well we're runner up if the champions is going to go to the national championship game, I would have been pretty happy.& Because we looked at this as a rebuilding year for the Buck Eyes.& And they certainly did better than any of us would have predicted.& I thought we'd probably have two or three loses this season. But it was a good ride.& And you know as you do stack up win after win, you certainly keep finding yourself rooting for more wins.& You can't get enough. &


But I'm OK. I'm over my mourning period.& And I'll move one.& Don't forget if there is a topic that you would like us to discuss, all you have to do is go to and click on the Contact Link. You can also email or call the voice line at 347-404-KIDS.& Don't forget the information presented in PediaCast is for general educational purposes only.& We do not diagnose medical conditions or formulate treatment plans for specific individuals.& If you have a concern about your child's health, call your doctor and arrange a face to face interview and hands on physical examination. &

Also your use of this audio program is subject to PediaCast Terms of Use Agreement which you can find at And with that in mind, we will be back with Dr. Bob, right after this short break.




All right, welcome back to the show.& Dr. Bob Sears is a pediatrician in St. Clement, California and son of The Baby Book co-author Dr. William Sears, Dr. Bob, an author in his own right, co-wrote the updated "The Baby Book", "The Premature Baby Book" and "The Baby Sleep Book".& He also authored "Father’s First Steps", "25 Things Every Dad Should Know" and he's appeared on "Dr. Phil", "The Ellen De Generes Show", and Saint Anne's "House Call" with Dr. Sonia Gupta.& Today, he adds another show to his list of appearances, PediaCast, and he joins us to talk about his latest project "The Vaccine Book".


So please join me in extending a very warm welcome to Dr. Bob Sears.& Welcome to PediaCast, Dr. Bob.

Dr. Bob: Hey, Dr. Mike.& Thanks a lot, I appreciate it.

Dr. Mike Patrick: We appreciate you stopping by. I guess the first thing I wanted to ask you is what is it like growing up with a famous dad?

Dr. Bob: That's a great question. I get that a lot. Honestly, we kind of grew up in some small town and he was the only pediatrician in the town.& And a lot of the childhood and for me, he was a regular dad and getting really be kind more in the spotlight until I was in college.& And I was kind of already lived on for most part of it. For me, he's just, and still is, he's just my dad and my co-worker.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Great, that's great.& So you kind of have the writing thing in your blood, right?

Dr. Bob: Yeah, exactly, I agree, in fact the English Department in college tried to steal me away from the Biology Department to try to pull me into a writing career.& But it as it turns out the writing just comes along with the doctor.


Dr. Mike Patrick: That's great. Now, why write a book about vaccines?& How did that come an interest for you?

Dr. Bob: Well, Dr. Mike.& If you probably been able to tell, really the only thing out there for parents to buy and read right now are some very anti-vaccine books.& And then there is a couple of your straight forward very pro vaccine books as well, but, I don't think either of those avenues is really is giving both sides of the story all together in one package.& And I think a lot of parents are, they're running scared right now.& They have so many questions and they're reading good things about vaccines or there very bad things about vaccines.& But they're not really giving some great answers from the internet or complete answers. &


Dr. Bob: And another problem is, you probably say it's in your office, I know I do, is doctors, we don't have enough time to spend hours with each patients answering all these detailed questions that patients now have.& And so I really just want to put everything I can ever find on vaccine that was good, scientifically based information.& Put it all together in one spot so that parents won’t have to afraid anymore or feel like they don't have the knowledge they need, cause now I think they can have the knowledge they need to make an educated decision.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, I think that's a great point especially with, there's just so many questions and where do you turn and you can't ask your pediatrician, you know, I don't have the entire morning with them.& That's about what I take.

Dr. Bob: Right, exactly.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Now, is it parents, are they you're primary audience for this book? &


Dr. Bob: Yeah.& They're definitely, they're my primary audience.& In my office, I was given so many questions over the years about vaccines.& I actually put together a kind of a seminar where I was… I would get about 20 patients together every month into the seminar on vaccines, and after about probably 50 of those over a period of several years, I got kind of tired obviously.& I was teaching the same things over and over again but still the parents kept coming and they have questions, so, that's why parents are my primary audience.& But I also want my audience to be a doctor like you, Dr. Mike.& And other pediatricians out there.& Because I think there are so much about vaccines pediatricians don't know.& I never knew 90% of what's in my book until I actually, I have to take the time to do some extra research and reading.& And I was so fascinated with it.& I guess an hour of studying information about vaccines.& I really want pediatricians to read it so that they can have an educated conversation with their patients. &


Dr. Bob: The book kind of tells doctors what patients are going to be asking, in details, and where the research is coming from, the patient are getting these ideas from and how doctors can go by addressing the issues that patient have and honestly, even my co-workers and my family here in the office, they don't know the answers to a lot of the questions the patients are coming to our office with, cause they never really taken the years that I've put in researching it.& So it's a great book for pediatricians to pick up so that you'll be much better equipped I think to address your patients concerns

Dr. Mike Patrick: Now what kind of information specifically can parents expect to get out of the book?

Dr. Bob: Well, I really jumped right in to the diseases and the vaccines, Dr. Mike.& In the first 12 chapters are basically, each chapter is devoted to a vaccine, that tells you how the vaccines made, what the ingredients are, what the side effects are, what ingredients might be a little controversial, such as mercury used to be a little bit more controversial or it tells you what ingredients you might sort of want to be aware of.& As your of key to getting, there might be a little bit out of the ordinary. &


But then I also in the same chapter, Dr. Mike, because I talked a lot about the disease that is actually even designed to prevent.& How common is the disease, how serious is the disease, how many fatality occur every year, how is the disease treated.& And so, a patient will look at each separate chapter and get a look at what this disease is and what the vaccines is all about. And I finished each chapter with a discussion on the pros and cons of getting that vaccine, what are the reasons why we do that, why do most parents choose this vaccine and then what are some of the reasons like some parents choose not to get a particular vaccine.


Dr. Bob: I kind of put each little individual 12 chapters where patients can read them one at a time and make an educated decision about just having one vaccine

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: And, well the second half of the book kind of goes into more of the details about vaccine's safety research or vaccine side effects, or the pros and cons of vaccinating just kind of in general or the theory behind vaccinating and then I like to talk a lot about some myths and controversies.& I like to spill some of the myths and clear up some of the controversies

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: And I finish off the book trying to give some people and guidance on how to go about vaccinating their kids in the safest manner possible.

Dr. Mike Patrick: You know, what I really like about this is it seems to me that you really trying to be as subjective as possible and just presenting both sides and the arguments.& And with the sciences behind it.& So, it's not really a mantra trying to convince parents that you have to vaccinate your kids.


Dr. Bob: Yeah, exactly.& And I think the books that are very pro vaccine or the websites.& They do just that.& They basically just say, the diseases are bad, vaccines are fine, you to get all the shots.& And then of course the anti-vaccine books and the websites are the complete opposites when we say, these are perfectly safe, you don't have to worry about any of them and the vaccines are terrible and you shouldn't get them.& And I basically put it all together, both sides.& In a very fair, objective way…

Dr. Mike Patrick: I'm going to…..

Dr. Bob:… appreciate it.

Dr. Mike Patrick: I'm going to assume that the bottom line for you is that you think that benefit outweighs the risk.& But what your position in your own practice on parents who finally decides to delay or decline vaccination?


Dr.& Bob: Yeah, yeah.& I agree with you Dr. Mike, I think the vaccines are important and the benefits are definitely outweigh the risks.& What I do here in Orange County, we're one of the only offices that will accept patients who choose not to vaccinate.& And when I get a patient that does not want to be vaccinate, I mean, I've read all the bad stuff there is to read.& And when you read all the journal articles and all the possible side effects, I've read it all.& And so, I'm must seem not surprised when a parents kind of come to the conclusion, hey I know all these risks are so rare but I just don't want take these risk and side effects with my kids.& Then I say, OK, well you know, as long as you understand the risk of the diseases.& And they're going to tell you, you know, how you need to go about minimizing the risks of the diseases and how we can try to lower all that risk then, but I'm happy to be your pediatrician.& I'll get you through this and I definitely like parents to be aware of the risk of the diseases when I'm not vaccinating.


Dr. Bob: But it's interesting in Orange County, we're really one of the only offices that welcomes patients to make that choice.& Cause I feel like it is a choice parents should have a freedom to make. &

Dr. Mike : Great.& And I think a lot of parents listening to this podcast appreciate that too.& Even if their for vaccines.& It’s just refreshing to hear someone realizing it's not necessary as black and white, as both extremes, what have you think.

Dr. Bob: Right.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Now, what are your feelings this kind of beyond the scope of the book a little bit.& But I'm just curious while I have you here.& What are you feelings on mandatory vaccines making them mandatory by law?


Dr. Bob: You know, that's a great question.& But I have a section at the book called "Is It Your Social Responsibility To Vaccinate Your Children". And, should the government have the right to mandate this.& And my opinion Dr. Mike, is I don't that any of these should be legally mandatory by law.& And I think vaccines follow to the category of medical care.& You're making a choice on your child medical care.& And I think parents in our country ought to have the freedom to make medical care choices for their children. &

Of course, when parents make that choice, they also have the responsibility to quarantine their kids if they should get sick. If you kid has a funny rash and a fever and they're not vaccinated, don’t send them to school. Keep them at home until you can straighten this out with your doctor.& I think…. When I see parents based their decision on, Dr Mike, is most parents will decide not what so much the best interest of the nation public health, but most parents are just going to make their decisions based on what they feel what is best for their child as an individual.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: Most of us will make decisions for our kids based on what really is their best interest honestly.& I mean, you have to look out for our kids.& And as a parent, truly feel that the least that the vaccines are a big risk for their child, I think they ought to have the freedom to put their children first.& I know there are two state in the nation that do have absolute mandatory vaccine laws and I've heard that the children could be actually removed from parents on parents choose not to vaccinate.& But fortunately most of the states do allow the parents to have religious exemptions.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.


Dr. Bob: 20 states allow parents to decline vaccines for no reason at all. You don't even to have a reason in 20 states including California…

Dr. Mike Patrick: Do you have to sign a waiver or something…

Dr. Bob: You know, yeah.& When you register for school.& You simply sign a waiver agreeing that you know the risks and you are not going to do the shots and you agree to keep you kids at home if there are any outbreaks.& Say chickenpox is going through the school and your child is not vaccinated, well you need to stay at home for a couple of weeks until the epidemic runs it course.

Dr. Mike Patrick:& Right.& There been lot of recent additions and changes to the immunization schedule.& I'm just curious, was it difficult updating the book as it went to press with so many recent changes.

Dr. Bob: Yeah, you know, fortunately I anticipated most of the changes Dr. Mike. I have some good resources where I was seeing where the vaccine market was going to go. And in my book I actually anticipated a lot of these and sort of gave the readers a heads up saying "Oh hey", by the way, in the beginning of 2008, we might be doing this or that. And so far everything I predicted ended up coming true.& But, there hasn't really been major change since the book was finalized a few months ago.& I was able to actually stick it and pretty much everything that was new, brand new into the book.& So fortunately, at least for the next year or two of the book should be very up to date.& And I'm actually planning to rewrite it as soon as something big enough comes out even if it's just a year from now. &

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: If we sold all the books printed out, I'm just going to write a little bit of a new edition to it as soon as I need to.& I really… I've just written this book once, Dr. Mike.& I'm really to devoted writing and rewriting and then interacting on the internet for the next 20, 30 years. How long I'm alive for, I really want to be the source of information parents go to for the most up to date information on vaccines.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Sure.& Let me ask you this too, let say you have a parent who had decided in the past to hold off in vaccinating their children.& And then they come across you book, they feel better about doing it and they make the decision to go ahead.& Do you address catch up schedules in the book?

Dr. Bob: Yeah, I do. It's kind of individual for each patient, depending how old they are.& But I definitely address that and you probably know the pediatrician, if somebody is not going to vaccinate in the early years, but when a child is five or six or 10, then they’re going to maybe think about getting some vaccines. There are certain vaccines you wouldn't even get by that time.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: You're beyond the age of some of the infant meningitis diseases and there's some shot you wouldn't skip.& And you also don't need as many in the entire series of shot if you're starting at a such later age.& And I also ways parents can check their blood immunity levels for certain diseases once their kids are older.& Say you never had a chicken pox when you're younger.& But you're rethinking that for your preteens and you're worried that chicken pox was going to be more serious for them as they get older, which it is.& You can do a blood test to check their chicken pox immunity.& And it's very likely that chicken pox or maybe some of the other diseases your kid might come across and develop immunity to them, so you don't even need to get the vaccine.& On the other hand you might find no immunity is there and you might say OK it's time to get my 10 year old a chicken pox vaccine because I don't want them to catch a serious case of it as a teenager.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Right. Now, in doing your research, are there any new vaccines that you see in the horizon that we're not doing now?

Dr. Bob: You know what we're going to do Mike, There's a couple of vaccines that I think they're going to evolve and change over the next few years. Number one is the pneumococcal vaccine or Prevnar is the trade name for it.& I think they're going to start incorporating more of the strains of the pneumococcal disease into that vaccine.& Since we're vaccinating first, some of the pneumococcal strain right now, other strains of the germ are now beginning to emerge and increase in our population.& So I think we are going to see the pneumococcal vaccine change to incorporate more of the strains of that disease.& So we're not running into trouble there. &


Dr. Bob:& I think the same maybe true of the HPV vaccine , that protects from human papillomavirus.& These two new ones are just coming out.& They only protect against a few of the strains.& And I think we're going to incorporate HPV strains a few years from now.& Another change we're going to see, Dr. Mike, is the meningococcal vaccine, which is now a teen age vaccine.& We're going to see that now becoming approved for kids as young as two years. And we're probably start giving that vaccine earlier because of pneumococcal or meningococcal vaccine could be very serious for infants and young children as well. &

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: Sort of brand new, completely brand new vaccines.& I don't think we're looking at anything in the next couple of years, Dr. Mike.& But beyond that, you know who is to say. &


Dr. Mike Patrick: Right.

Dr. Bob: That's what my real updated version of the book will be all about.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right. And how about the combination vaccines, do you cover those as well?

Dr. Bob: You know I do Dr. Mike.& And I'm glad you asked that 'cause, as pediatricians, anything that can decrease the member of separate shots that we give, seems like a great convenience to us.& And every parent is going to want to give their kids less injection at a time if we can.& But when you actually look at how the combination shots are made and what the ingredients are, some of the combination shots have a lot more chemical and higher chemical levels in the entire combination compared to when you just look at each shot as an individual.& And I know one of the worries these parents have is all these chemicals that are in the shots and then are we giving too many chemicals together at a time. &


Dr. Bob: In my office, I actually don't use any of the chemicals or I don't use any of the combination vaccines simply because they have to put much higher level of certain chemicals in order to make a big combination shot work& well.& That's one way I think pediatrician can educate themselves about the vaccine and how to get them in safest manner possible is to read through the book and see what's in the shots and compare the different grams.& Compare how the combinations shots are made versus the individual ones and come up with as a pediatrician you feel is the safest brand and types of vaccines to use on your patient.

Dr. Mike Patrick: See, this should be required reading for all medical students during their pediatric clerkships, right?


Dr. Bob: You're so right.& And honestly, I was so shocked about all these stuff I was learning that I never would have even learned if I hadn’t decided to take special interest on this.& And I think, I honestly believe every pediatrician or family practice doctor to read this is going to be to say “hey, I never knew that".& And every page, I can almost guarantee they'll learn something that they didn't know before.& And that they can then pass on to a patient and help their patients know how to immunize in the safest manner possible. &

Dr. Mike Patrick: Right. Now, how can moms and dads and doctors and medical students, how can they find your book?

Dr. Bob: Well, the title of the book,, is my website.& They can read the introduction, the table of contents.& Get a little preview of the book.& My website will take them to Amazon where they can order the book off at Amazon.& And then it's also available in bookstores and right now I would certainly love parents to get a little preview of it and check it out on


And I also like to throw out a lot of blogs on the site as well. And I'll answer questions and there is an open forum, people ask questions, I'll jump in there, I’ll pretty much answer every question there is.& At least right now, Dr. Mike.& If eventually, I get overwhelmed with it, right now I'm getting not too many questions everyday.& I'm keeping up for now.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Great. Excellent.& Well we really appreciate you stopping by and we'll put a link in our Show Notes also to for you so people can find it a little easier.& But thanks for stopping by, we really appreciate it. &

Dr. Bob: I appreciate too Dr. Mike. Thanks for having me on. &




Dr. Mike Patrick: And once again thanks go out to Dr. Bob, for stopping by. Don't forget to check out his book, The Vaccine Book and you can find it at and of course we'll have a link in the Show Notes. That was Dr. Bob Sears, and again we appreciate him stopping by and being part of the program. &

Also thanks go out to Nationwide Children's Hospital for providing the bandwidth for this show. And to Vlad over at for providing the artwork for the website and the feed. &

And of course thanks to all of you for making a special little time in your day for PediaCast.& We certainly appreciate it.& Don't forget iTunes review, we have a few more of those over the weekend and they are definitely appreciated.& And you guys have had some very nice comments and five star reviews.& I just really want to thank those of you who taken the time to do that, because the more reviews that we get in iTunes, the more seriously people take the program.


And things that you guys have to say are really nice and I do appreciate that.& Still to come this week,& we have News Parents Can Use.& We're going to answer some of your questions and talk about some more research project so we still have lots more coming your way this week.& And until next tomorrow, this is Dr. Mike saying stay safe, stay healthy, and stay involved with your kids. So long everybody.


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