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January 5, 2009
Last week, I blogged about an article in the Pediatrics journal written by vaccine expert Paul Offit and received a slew of heated comments both defending and attacking Offit's criticism of doctors who take a flexible approach to vaccinations. Vaccines are certainly a heated issue among parents and doctors alike: Witness the mass protests currently going on against a New Jersey law that takes effect this week mandating that preschoolers be vaccinated against the flu before they're allowed to return from winter break to their nursery school or day-care center.
Many of the commenters were concerned about Offit's conflict of interest; he is the co-inventor of the RotaTeq vaccine against rotavirus. Pediatrician Lawrence Rosen, who serves on the complementary medicine advisory board for the American Academy of Pediatrics (publisher of Pediatrics), sent me an E-mail commending me on my blog and included a letter he sent to the journal criticizing the AAP for "discouraging honest and open dialogue about one of the most important public health issues of our times" in not handling flexible vaccination as a debate that has two sides.