Facebook Chat Focuses on Vaccines

Vaccines are safe, effective and parents should make sure their children are immunized.

That was the message driven home by NorthBay Healthcare pediatrician Judy Yang, D.O. during the latest #OurDocTalk chat on the NorthBay Facebook page. For a half hour, Dr. Yang answered questions on vaccine schedules and safety during the chat and spent plenty of time posting "thank-you" messages to visitors who just popped in to say how much they love her care.

"Dr. Yang is the most AMAZING doctor. I ABSOLUTELY love her medical assistant as well!" gushed one fan.

"Great pediatrician! My kids love her!" wrote another.

Others had more serious inquiries. One parent asked if immunizations were done for his 20-month-old and if not "how many shots are left?"

"If your child has had all the recommended routine immunizations to date they would not be due (other than the usual annual flu shots) until kindergarten," Dr. Yang said.

When asked if vaccines cause autism, Dr. Yang was definitive.

"Vaccines have been very definitively proven to NOT cause autism by many EVIDENCE-BASED studies," she wrote. She explained where the misconception originated - a fraudulent research paper in the late 1990s - and said, "I offer this background because I strongly feel it's important for parents to know the history of why this controversy began - and it's important for parents not to base their healthcare decisions for their children on fraudulent information. The science is VERY clear that vaccines are safe, effective, and do NOT cause autism."

She also answered questions on the age when children should get shots, what immunizations are required for school and explained specific seventh-grade immunization requirements.

"For California, the Tdap shot is required before a child can enter seventh-grade," she explained. "As Solano County has had cyclical pertussis ("whooping cough") outbreaks and higher-than-average incidence of this disease, it's recommended to give the Tdap shot at 10 years of age - so we try to fit this shot into their 10- or 11-year well child visit." She recommended that parents schedule appointments early in order to avoid the rush that always occurs right before the new school year begins.

The full chat can be viewed on the NorthBay Facebook page ( Facebook.com/NorthBayHealthcare).