Rich Tucker

In any event, the government is too involved in our children’s health care. In a paper last fall dealing with Medicare, Richard Dolinar, M.D. warned against allowing “government micromanagement of medical care.” He wrote that, “Physicians would be compelled either to follow government treatment guidelines or to suffer financial consequences, regardless of whether a particular guideline is in the best inter¬ests of a particular patient.”

That warning accurately describes the current CDC vaccination schedule: The federal government sets standards for patient treatment, the state governments mandate that each patient must receive that treatment and pediatricians dutifully provide it. The idea of doing what’s best for each individual patient doesn’t exist as we scramble to do what’s best for “the greater good.”

Government guidance even causes medical professionals to ignore common sense. Amy Anderson, a licensed practical nurse with Endwell Family Physicians in New York, recently told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin that combination vaccines, where one shot immunizes against more than one disease, are a good idea. The body responds better when it receives more than one vaccine at a time, she told the paper.

That makes no sense. Doctors won’t vaccinate a child who’s fighting off a cold or fever, because his immune system isn’t operating as efficiently as it should. So how can it be safe to inject five different things into the child all at once?

Giving each shot alone and then waiting a few months to make sure the child had responded well would be far more reasonable. But that would require multiple visits to the doctor.

So, for everyone’s convenience, the CDC recommends combining shots. “The use of combination vaccines is a practical way to overcome the constraints of multiple injections, especially for starting the immunization series for children behind schedule,” a May 1999 CDC report said. But health care should be based on what’s best for the patient, not what’s easiest for the doctor or the parent.

Preventing global warming may (or may not) be important. We actually won’t know for decades. But finding out what causes autism (so we can cure it) is urgent. Let’s keep our priorities in line.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for