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White Plains Doctor: Get Shots for Back to School

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.  - Fresh out of a recent vaccine summit, White Plains pediatrician Mason Gomberg is ready to prep White Plains children for the school year ahead.

"Schools require the vaccines and if kids don't have them they can't get into kindergarten or first grade," said Gomberg, who has been practicing with the White Plains Pediatric Group for 26 years. "The state law requires kids to get shots so by and large we've been getting less resistance to the vaccines."

Although Gomberg said vaccines are "effective in preventing very serious diseases," he noted that vaccines are still crucial because several infants died in a whooping cough rash in California this year and Yonkers fought a measles flare a few years ago.

A study published late last year by the Centers for Disease Control showed that death rates for 13 diseases preventable by childhood vaccinations are at an all-time low in the United States.

Vaccines responsible for the control of such infectious scourges as polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) have helped prevent debilitating diseases.

However, there have been recent stirrings of some diseases making deadly comebacks. Earlier this year, California endured the largest whooping cough outbreak in 65 years, sickening almost 9,500 people and killing 10 infants. And so far this year, there have been more cases of measles in the United States than any year since 1996. Forty percent of people who contract the disease need to be hospitalized.

Vaccines inject antigens that cause diseases into people to spur production of the antibodies that fight the diseases. The antigen dose is too small to cause anyone receiving a vaccine to suffer from the illness, however, some parents believe there are links between the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, and autism, despite studies' suggestion that there is no link.

Gomberg said he's noticed the autism rumor and other theories have largely "been put to rest."

As vaccination season rolls around, Gomberg said new parents should consider getting a cellular pertussis shot because most infants who contract the disease get it from their parents.

Have you vaccinated your kids yet? Are your children good with shots? What sorts of techniques help keep the younger ones calm? Email thoughts to strangle@thedailywhiteplains.com and we'll include your responses in future coverage.

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