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Vaccine Myth and Physician Handouts

THOMAS P. LYNCH, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(4):426. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160040082008.
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Sir.—I read with interest the editorials by Cherry1 in the March 23/301990 issue of JAMA and by Fulginiti2 in the August 1990 issue of AJDC and am concerned about an issue neither physician addressed, namely, the handouts from the Centers for Disease Control that pediatricians have been strongly encouraged to give to our patients. These handouts hardly help to dispel the myth of the connection between diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine and encephalopathy.

These pamphlets not only tell parents that there is a connection, but give the approximate odds of encephalitis and permanent brain damage occurring. We have distributed these pamphlets not only to protect ourselves from the liability of failing to properly inform parents, but also to educate them about these possible problems associated with the vaccine. Now we are told the problem is all a myth. Thus, we are handing out pamphlets with misinformation. Should we continue to distribute

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