HEDBERG:“Whether it’s vaccination, medical treatments, or drugs, there are side effects with all of them. The question is always: do the benefits outweigh the risks? I think some vaccine-preventable diseases — for example, pertussis — can kill infants, and so it’s important for people to realize that the downside of not vaccinating is some of these diseases that are very severe will continue to occur.
But the questioner, the person who wrote it, is absolutely right: there are some risks. When parents give vaccinations or the pediatricians give vaccinations, parents are required to read about the side effects and to sign an informed consent. So I do think that it’s important for doctors to be up front that, for example, some of the children can develop a little bit of fever; sometimes it’s uncomfortable in the arm, etc. So there are certainly some complications. But most … vaccines are relatively mild compared to the diseases themselves.”