The first time most Americans thought childhood vaccines were about more than crying babies and scary needles was when the media went into an uproar about claims that the vaccine's mercury-based preservatives caused autism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those claims have been discredited through research, and the mercury has been removed from almost all vaccines, but the worries about vaccination safety remain.

In 2007, Dr. Robert Sears published The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, which seeks to address the biggest concerns of parents who are looking for a middle ground between the official CDC vaccine schedule and not getting any vaccines at all. Dr. Sears' book includes what he calls an alternative vaccine schedule, which allows for fewer shots at each visit and sometimes pushes back specific vaccines for months or even years after the official schedule's recommendations.

Before you decide about vaccinations, learn about the diseases they prevent.


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