Sears is a nationally known pediatrician, father of three, and author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. Sears has graciously offered to extend his expertise about vaccines through a monthly column where YOU ask the questions...and he answers them. See the bottom of this post for details about how you can submit a question.
If you want more information now, you should really just buy his book (read my review here). It's comprehensive, objective, and the only one of its kind on the market.
Today's question was sent in by Leigh, the mother of a 13-month-old little girl.
QUESTION: I started the MMR (or any other vaccine) series and then read your book/researched the topic/talked to friends...and now I don't want to continue with the series. Can I decline the vaccine at my child's next appointment or do I have to move forward now that I already started the series? Is there any harm in only having "part" of a full series?
ANSWER FROM DR. SEARS: Good question. No, there is no harm in stopping a vaccine series before completing it. Parents often change their mind about a particular vaccine mid-series, and they have every right to do so. Realize, however, that by not completing the whole series, your child won't have very good immunity to that disease. And any immunity they did gain will wear off more quickly. The exact amount of immunity gained, and how long it will last, varies greatly depending on how much of the series is completed and what type of vaccine it is. Parents should ask their doctor for more specific information regarding any vaccines they don't wish to complete.
If you have a question about vaccines for Dr. Sears, send an e-mail with "Ask Dr. Sears" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.