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Your Baby's Best Shot

Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives

Stacy Mintzer Herlihy and E. Allison Hagood - Foreword by Paul A. Offit M.D.

Parents can easily be bombarded by conflicting messages about vaccines a dozen times each week. One side argues that vaccines are a necessary public health measure that protects children against dangerous and potentially deadly diseases. The other side vociferously maintains that vaccines are nothing more than a sop to pharmaceutical companies, and that the diseases they allegedly help prevent are nothing more than minor annoyances. An ordinary parent may have no idea where to turn to find accurate information.

Your Baby’s Best Shot is written for the parent who does not have a background in science, research, or medicine, and who is confused and overwhelmed by the massive amount of information regarding the issue of child vaccines. New parents are worried about the decisions that they are making regarding their children’s health, and this work helps them wade through the information they receive in order to help them understand that vaccinating their child is actually one of the simplest and smartest decisions that they can make.

Covering such topics as vaccine ingredients, how vaccines work, what can happen when populations don’t vaccinate their children, and the controversies surrounding supposed links to autism, allergies, and asthma, the authors provide an overview of the field in an easy to understand guide for parents.

In an age when autism diagnoses remain on the rise, when a single infectious individual can help spark an epidemic in three countries, when doctors routinely administer an often bewildering array of shots, and when parents swear their babies were fine until their first dosage of the MMR, the authors hope this book will serve as a crucial resource to help parents understand this vitally important issue.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 220Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/8
978-1-4422-1578-8 • Hardback • August 2012 • $41.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-4422-1579-5 • Paperback • January 2015 • $22.00 • (£14.95)
978-1-4422-1580-1 • eBook • August 2012 • $20.00 • (£13.95)
Stacy Mintzer Herlihy is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in many publications including Big Apple Parent Magazine and USA Today.

E. Allison Hagood is a psychology professor at a community college in Colorado. Before becoming a professor, she was a clinician and researcher specializing in adults with severe mental illnesses. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

Foreword author
Paul A. Offit, MD, FAAP, is the chief of Infectious Diseases and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has published several books including Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases and Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.

1: Who we are and why we wrote this book
2: The Edward Jenner Story: A brief history of the first vaccine.
3: How Vaccines Work
4: Of Bananas and Formaldehyde or What the Heck IS in Them?
5: A Real Mother: The World Before Vaccines
6: The Worst Case Scenario: True Adverse Reactions
7: Vaccines And Autism: The Creation Of A Modern Myth
8: Autism: A Brief Discussion Of The Facts
9: The Geiers and Other Autism Myth-Makers
10: Asthma, ADHD, and Allergies: More Medical Myths
11: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: The Online World
12: Other Vaccine Myths and Facts
13: Modern Developments in Vaccine Technology: The Story of the HPV Vaccine
14: Parenting’s Easiest Decision

Whichever side you fall on in the great vaccine debate, it’s always in your best interest to arm yourself with accurate information. This book discusses the real science behind vaccinations.
Foreword Reviews

Written for parents who are pro-vaccine or who just want information about what’s in all of those kids’ shots, this book is a great resource. The authors break down everything from ingredients to adverse reactions to the autism myth. This book is not for parents who agree with Jenny McCarthy. She still claims that there is a link between vaccinations and autism. This book whole-heartedly disagrees, and breaks down the medical research to back up their points.
Parents Magazine

This thoroughly researched book should convince even ardent vaccine skeptics that the benefits of giving kids shots to prevent illnesses far outweigh any negatives. The authors are not big names in the vaccine world (one is a freelance writer, and the other is a psychology professor). Yet they show a commanding knowledge of their topic. In a coup that lends credibility to their scientifically sound book, they nabbed a foreword by Paul Offit, the famous University of Pennsylvania pediatrician who coinvented the rotavirus vaccine and who forcefully (and correctly) maintained that autism is not linked to inoculations. Herlihy and Hagood present many interesting facts: today there are vaccines against 22 diseases; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln survived smallpox; in 1979, smallpox officially became “the first disease conquered by human efforts”; the flavor enhancer MSG is added to vaccines to preserve their efficacy. An index would have been helpful, but this book, with its extensive notes and bibliography, should go a long way toward convincing even the most leery that vaccines save lives.

Herlihy and Hagood acknowledge that parents having to make the decision of whether or not to vaccinate their children may well have misgivings. They explore the origins of those doubts and rather than commend or condemn parents for fostering them, attack the doubts themselves, tearing them out by their very roots. More, this is a manual on critical thinking and the insights into psychology and behaviour that Hagood, a community college psychology professor, brings to the work are applicable to countless other issues and situations parents face and decisions they have to make everyday.

This is a writing duo to be reckoned with. Hagood announces early on that she is not a parent. Her analysis of the vaccine manufacturversy is a wholly objective one. Herlihy, a writer of wit, charm and experience and a mother, recounts her tale of paranoia following her daughter being vaccinated, effectively demonstrating the power of anecdote and the human propensity to empathy. Combine these two women and you have a book that sticks like glue to the evidence that “vaccines are safe and save lives” but has huge amounts of heart and a conversational but never flippant tone that conveys a deep understanding of the toll fear and information overload can take on frazzled, possibly sleep deprived parent’s critical faculties....

Your Baby’s Best Shot covers a lot of ground and a fair bit of history with forty pages of notes and references at the end.Never, though, does reading this book feel like a slog. There are no inches of footnotes at the end of each page as the research discussed and the sources referenced are cited seamlessly in the main text. Even the science heavy chapters relating to how vaccines and the immune system work are somehow imbued with the same warmth of tone of the chapters preceding and following them. Tricky concepts are related in concrete terms of everyday experience. One can almost imagine going for a coffee with the authors and them moving salt shakers and sugar bowls around the table to demonstrate what happens when a vaccine is received. In these passages their love of science and its discoveries are clear to the reader. These authors are passionate about this subject.

Autismum Blog

Herlihy and Hagood team up with their respective expertise in research/writing (Herlihy) and psychology (Hagood) to dispel the fear some parents have about vaccines and their ingredients and their possible negative effects on children....An outstanding section on historical epidemiology helps readers gain perspective on the dangers children faced from childhood diseases like polio before the widespread use of vaccination....The authors do present some very interesting counterpoints to arguments offered by the movement against mandatory vaccination.
Publishers Weekly

Written in a clear, concise, no-nonsense fashion, Stacy Mintzer Herlihy and E. Allison Hagood discuss how vaccines work, why they are safe, and why the misinformation spread by the antivaccine movement and alternative medical practitioners is without a basis in science, while describing some of the dangerous quackery that is being promoted to treat "vaccine injury" that is not really vaccine injury. It is essential reading for all new parents with any doubts at all about vaccines.
David Gorski, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and medical director of the Alexander J. Walt Comprehensive Breast Center at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Herlihy and Hagood came to this book with many doubts and questions and a determination to provide something useful to parents who for one reason or another are worried about vaccinating their children. Anxious parents should take their honest, thorough examination of the subject as helpful advice from two good surrogates for a trusted neighbor or friend.
Arthur Allen, author, Vaccine: the Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver and Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato

Stacy Mintzer Herlihy and E. Allison Hagood have provided an exceptional and thorough explanation of vaccines, including what they are, their history, and how they have single-handedly changed the landscape for raising healthy children. This book is a must read for any new or expecting parent as it is a wonderful resource, giving parents and caregivers the opportunity to truly understand the real science behind vaccinations, as well as the positive impact they have had (and continue to have) on society. Thanks to these authors, I now have a new standard gift that I will be giving to all of my expecting friends, because the first step to making an informed parenting decision, especially when it comes to vaccination, is educating yourself.
Jeanne Garbarino, PhD, Biology Editor, Double X Science

“…cuts through unscientific misinformation to help parents understand that vaccinating their children is good for their child’s health”
Publishers Weekly

Written for the lay person with little to no background in science

Calm, rational discussion of the issue

Factual and based on the latest science in the field

Rational explanation of the validity of the science supporting vaccination

Written from the point of view of a parent and a professional educator, neither of whom have ties to the pharmaceutical or medical fields

Step-by-step explanation of how and why the anti-vaccine movement is incorrect in its claims

Provides reassurance to parents who might be questioning the issue

Gives historical context of the importance of vaccines in the improvement of individual and public health