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Scarsdale Parents Urged to Vaccinate Children

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Six-month-old Zoe Konstantatos smiled at the adults around her as she lay on a table at Scarsdale Pediatrics, blissfully unaware of what was coming. Nurse Crystal Clemente swabbed a spot on Zoe’s leg and quickly gave her the first of three shots. A few moments passed before Zoe’s face crinkled up and she began to cry. It was the third shot that made her scream instantly.

“It’s the vaccine itself that hurts,” Clemente said. “Some hurt more than others.”

The offices of Scarsdale Pediatrics buzzed Saturday with children of all ages getting their shots, some in preparation for starting school or college. Although Zoe has a ways to go before she’s school age, she attends day care, and her parents, Andy and Melissa Konstantatos of Yonkers, said they were aware of the recent outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in other parts of the country as a result of some parents’ reluctance to immunize their children.

“I think it’s really important that kids get vaccinated,” Melissa said. “With all we know now, there’s no reason not to.”

Dr. Scott Bookner, one of the four partners in the practice, said most parents are diligent about vaccinations, but many still have concerns.

“Parents talk to each other, and they may read things on the Internet that might not be accurate,” he said.

A fraudulent British study that claimed to have found a link between vaccines and autism was debunked in 2010, and multiple studies have found no link between autism and the vaccine preservative thimerosal, which is used in just trace amounts today.

In addition to the shots that babies and school-age children have to get, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urges college students who live in dormitories to get vaccinated against bacterial meningitis, as they are at a slightly elevated risk of contracting the potentially deadly disease.

Sarah Shaw, 18, of Greenwich, Conn., was doing just that, as she leaves next week for her freshman year at Chapman University in California. She said she knew about meningitis, and had seen TV commercials about the transmission of meningitis and the importance of getting vaccinated.

"I know it’s usually fatal, so we’re supposed to get the shot. Plus, my mom made me do it,” Shaw said.

The Westchester County Department of Health is offering free back-to-school vaccination clinics in White Plains and Yonkers this month and next. For more information, see the department’s flier.


What do you think about parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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