MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
Welcome to the program.
D: Thank you.
NORRIS: Dr. Baker, I want to lay down the basics first. If someone has a baby right now, this year, how many vaccines does the CDC suggest that that child should receive?
BAKER: Well, in the first two years of life, the number of vaccines would be approximately 12. And some of these can be combined into a single shot, and that's including the yearly influenza vaccine.
NORRIS: You know, take me back. Has there generally been a resistance to vaccines, or were they seen as a panacea to a difficult health problem?
BAKER: Now that we've had so many successes in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases like polio and meningitis, the diseases have disappeared from common view. And in that way, vaccines have sort of defeated themselves.
NORRIS: Now, I understand that you have a particular point of view. But for the parents that are out there listening to this conversation - and they have young children; they're making decisions about vaccination - what would you say to them? What do you say, in particular, to parents who are considering opting out?
BAKER: But the majority just want information. They've heard all these frightening things. They want the best for their children. And you need to educate them first about the diseases - because they don't know about the diseases.
NORRIS: Now, we want to be careful not to overstate or amplify a trend. Martin Kaste reported that 6.2 percent of kindergartners in Washington state get exemptions. But looking at these figures nationwide, less than 1 percent of children are getting zero vaccinations. That seems like a pretty tiny proportion.
BAKER: Dr. Baker, thank you very much for your time.
BAKER: My great pleasure, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.