National Vaccine
Information Center

Your Health. Your Family. Your Choice.
Translate this page:

NVIC’s “Ask Nurse Vicky” Educates Consumers
Posted: 4/12/2011 2:22:50 AM | with 27 comments

A new online video health education program produced by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) will feature Vicky Debold, RN, PhD, responding to letters from consumers asking questions about vaccination. Since its founding in 1982, NVIC has responded to letters and telephone calls from parents seeking more information about infectious diseases and vaccines and has provided networking support to those reporting vaccine reactions.

Send Your Questions to Nurse Vicky

Vicky Pebsworth Debold, PhD, RN“Ask Nurse Vicky” was created by Vicky Debold, who is NVIC’s volunteer Director of Research and Patient Safety, to educate vaccine consumers about ways to minimize the risk to individuals for suffering a vaccine reaction. The letters and emails she selects to feature in her video responses illustrate common questions and vaccine reaction reports received by NVIC.

To ask a question for “Ask Nurse Vicky,” send an email question addressed to Nurse Vicky at

Three Decades of Nursing, Education, Research & Advocacy

Vicky Debold received a doctorate from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and School of Nursing and completed her post-doctoral fellowship in health system research. She has been employed in the health care field for more than 30 years as an ICU nurse, health care administrator and health policy analyst primarily focusing on pediatrics and patient safety. Currently she is a research scientist and affiliate faculty member at George Mason University in the Health Administration and Policy Department, where she teaches health services research methods. Her analyses and papers have been published in nursing and medical journals.

She has worked with NVIC since 2006 on vaccine safety analytical and education projects. Since 2008, she has served as the consumer voting member of the FDA Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. She has worked for the Vaccine Safety Working Group of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee and the independent H1N1 Vaccine Safety Risk Assessment Working Group.

Vicky’s son — her only child — experienced serious, long-term health problems following receipt of seven live virus and killed bacterial vaccines given at his 15-month well-baby visit, which sparked her interest in vaccine safety research and policy and chronic illness and disability in children.  

In the News

WE HELD THE LINE IN NJ & WA: This week, in a show of strength in New Jersey and Washington state, parents showed up and stood up for their right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions for their children. Both health committee hearings ended in a “no vote” being taken because bill sponsors could not count on the vote going their way. Stay tuned for the story behind the story told in the NVIC Vaccine E-newsletter early next week. Sign up for NVIC’s Advocacy Portal at

HAVE YOU BEEN THREATENED? If you have been threatened by a doctor, government or school official for asking questions about vaccine risks or attempting to file an exemption to vaccination, tell your story on NVIC’s Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall. Click here to tell your story.

JOIN NVIC’s 20,000 fans on FACEBOOK: Get the latest breaking news about vaccination that affects you and your family. Become an NVIC Facebook fan. Click here.

Posted: 4/12/2011 2:22:50 AM | with 27 comments

Hi, I am wondering what vaccines you do recommend for babies and kids to get at this time. Are there any that are good? What if we just gave them the same ones I got as a kid, which is a lot less vaccines. Are there any that are not made with aborted human tissue?
7/10/2011 6:20:41 AM
Report abuse

Are all polio vaccines in combination with other vaccines?
Are all US polio vaccines made with monkey medium and not with human cell medium?
8/9/2011 11:27:10 PM
Report abuse

My daughter was born February 1997. There are many vaccines that have been required that don't appear on her original shot record. What are the new shots? And are they necessary?
8/12/2011 4:24:58 PM
Report abuse

Thanks for posting this story! I have a family member who was intimidated & bullied by her pediatrician to give her child more vaccines than she wanted. Even though she is highly educated, very bright, & an excellent mother who was determined not to comply w/ the standard schedule, this man was able to shame her into giving her son all the vaccines on the schedule that day. She was worried sick about it, & won't ever be able to forgive herself for listening to someone whose ego had no regard for her concerns, & who wouldn't be the one to deal with any potentially life-altering adverse reactions in her son as a result! She promptly found a doctor who treats her with respect, & recognizes her right as a parent to make a informed decisions. She is vaccinating her son selectively, & on a slower schedule according to research she has done on the subject. Parents need to know how their pediatrician feels about vaccines before stepping into the examination room: it's harder to say "NO!" once you're alone in a small room w/ a Dr in a white coat.
8/21/2011 8:04:05 PM
Report abuse

Sonny Moon
Did you read the article in the 8/25/2011 Washington Post? It says: "Vaccines are generally safe for most people, the National Academy of Sciences has concluded, dismissing stubborn concerns about supposed links to autism and other serious health problems."
8/26/2011 10:05:54 AM
Report abuse

Paul Arthur
Statement of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)
on Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality
Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines
August. 25, 2011
8/26/2011 10:44:38 AM
Report abuse

Hello, I was wondering if you yourself believe in vaccines at all as I do not. I think it is better to be natural. My mother had my baby sister last year. She has had none and is the healthiest of all of us. My mother is having another baby this December and she will be doing the same. They will both be homeschooled. Also how can I get people to believe that the gardasil vaccine is dangerous?
Thank you very much
9/4/2011 6:07:26 AM
Report abuse

Hi, My daughter will be traveling to Haiti in a couple of months. She has not been vaccinated. Do you think there are vaccinations that are necessary when you are traveling?
10/10/2011 1:30:02 PM
Report abuse

Paul Arthur
@Jackie Travelers to foreign countries should do research and find out what the current infectious disease risks are in the countries they will be visiting. The risks of contracting a particular infectious disease and suffering complications versus the risks of getting vaccinated and experiencing a complication have to be weighed in the context of the individual person's health history and risk profile.

The CDC website contains travel advisories and information for international travelers, as do several other websites, about which vaccines are recommended for which countries. In light of the recent devastation there it is important to determine where one is staying, the sanitation facilities available, the frequency and amount of public contact i.e. Urban/Suburban etc etc.

You may check the ingredients, contra-indications and other vaccine specific information on our website at We wish her safe travels.
10/10/2011 3:14:47 PM
Report abuse

I'm shocked that I found this info so easily.
11/15/2011 4:23:31 AM
Report abuse

I discovered my daughters allergy injections contain phenol. Some things I found regarding phenol on google aren't great and other sites are indifferent. What are your thoughts?

She suffers from migraines, hence the shots to see if they could help. Also has gluten intolerance. We are very careful with foods and meds, just wonder if we should ditch the shots??

11/29/2011 9:21:13 AM
Report abuse

Are all polio vaccines in combination with other vaccines?
Are all US polio vaccines made with monkey medium and not with human cell medium?
3/9/2012 3:18:38 PM
Report abuse

Andria Myers
Hi nurse Vicky,
My child recieved Pentacel and Prevnar 13 times 2.
My child developed eczema like rash each time. First appearing in both lower legs. Second time generalized all over body with worst areas on belly and neck.
I told his Doctor who brushed it off, as if vaccines could not produce such reactions. Child was officially diagnosed with having eczema in April.dr recently retired, and I made an appointment with a new one. I will not continue the Pentacel or Prevnar vaccine.
Is there any legal ramification for such action?
I know for public/private school they are needed.
I would rather do blood titers or immune studies to check immunity level and have lab results documented in the slots where the follow up boosters are recommended.
I was also bullied by the clinic nurse that if I didn't vaccinate my child I can have my child taken away.
I didn't let her get to me. Obviously she didn't know that I am also a nurse.
I am fully vaccinated as a child. I am trained to believe that vaccines can do no harm. However, I am enlightened with the truth. Yes some might benefit from a vaccine and others may not.
5/23/2012 5:55:34 PM
Report abuse

Hi, Im curious as to your opinion on vaccines for prolonged travelling in SE Asia?
6/1/2012 2:20:02 PM
Report abuse

THANK YOU for creating this web site and for "Ask Nurse Vicky"!!! My children are now 15 and 23....I didn't know about the dangers of vaccines when my oldest was an infant an so went along blindly following the normal procedures. By the time my youngest child was born, I was introduced to several books concerning the dangers of vaccines and chose not to vaccinate my child. The biggest regret of my life was vaccinating my eldest child. There just wasn't any info available 24 years ago, and we didn't have the internet in every home as we do today. I have had to fight back on my own against well meaning friends, family and schools to preserve my right to choose no vaccinations for my child. So, THANK YOU!!! This is soooo important!!!
6/25/2012 8:23:56 AM
Report abuse

Carolyn Mordecai
Is there a government address or anyplace to report your own terrible vaccine reactions? I don't know where to report anything like that and would appreciate hearing from you.

Carolyn, since 1982, the NVIC has operated a Vaccine Reaction Registry, which has served as a watchdog on reports submitted to VAERS.

Reporting vaccine reactions to VAERS is the law and it is also a way to generate information that will help reduce vaccine risks for everyone.

If your doctor will not report a serious health problem you or your child suffers following vaccination, you have the right to report a suspected vaccine reaction to VAERS.

Thank you for taking the time to report to both the VAERS as well as NVIC's Vaccine Reaction Registry.
7/11/2012 4:16:18 PM
Report abuse

I am a breastfeeding mother and am wondering if my 3 month old and I receive our DTap vaccine on the same day (her first dose) will mine DTap get into her system. My 2006 tetnus shot did not have the Pertussis dose, so my doctor wants me to have this vaccine. I am on a slow track of vaccines for my infant (one at a time). We had one Hib shot at 2 months and the DTap is next.We are going in once a month.

Thanks for your thoughts.
9/12/2012 12:20:08 PM
Report abuse

Are there links between the Flu vaccine and Nerve damage?
9/20/2012 8:29:41 AM
Report abuse

CAn you tell me there is anew vacinne they are giving young girls age 13 in school to prevent them from getting cervical cancer.
What is in this vaccine, side effects and how can they prove this.
Concerned parent
9/21/2012 7:03:39 AM
Report abuse

Still searching for info on routine travel vaccinations. I'll be brief. I rarely ever get sick. My whole life, I've been generally healthy, eating healthy and mom and dad got my brother and I off to a great start in many ways.
So, to the point. In 2008, we traveled to the Philippines, and I had the recommended travel vaccinations. After that, I was sick for what must have been six weeks.
This year, again, we're traveling to the Philippines and I'm debating, when they recommend getting the shots, is it worth getting the shots? Or is it a "risk" if I don't get the shots? I don't have a doctor that I really trust, so am looking for opinions on which to base a decision.
If the purpose of a vaccine is to prevent sickness....and the vaccine makes me sick, what is the point? Really?

Shane Travelers to foreign countries should do research and find out what the infectious disease risks are in the countries they will be visiting currently. The risks of contracting a particular infectious disease and suffering complications versus the risks of getting vaccinated and experiencing a complication have to be weighed in the context of the individual person's health history and risk profile.

The CDC website contains information for international travelers, as do several other websites, about which vaccines are recommended for which countries. It is also important to determine which vaccines are required for obtaining various visas for travel to other countries.

Some countries will allow you entrance without particular vaccines but will not allow you to leave the country and travel to another country without getting certain vaccines. Be sure you understand vaccination requirements for entering and exiting foreign countries before departing

As with all vaccines, become informed about potential high risk factors when vaccinating by reviewing NVIC's "Ask Eight, Before You Vaccinate". It is also advisable to read vaccine manufacturer product inserts, seek out additional resource information and speak with a trusted health care professional. If you choose to vaccinate, you may want to consider spreading vaccines out over time rather than getting them all in one day.
10/8/2012 4:21:45 PM
Report abuse

Shane, try the Lonely Planet website as it is more accurate than any government website or travel clinic. I travelled the world and went to my local doctor before my trip. My doctor then looked up the recommended vaccines for each country on the government website and confirmed the findings with a travel clinic. As a result I was given a number of unnecessary and expensive vaccines for diseases that were of no concern in the countries I visited. Furthermore I became very ill after receiving the vaccines and almost died. It took me over a year to recover.
12/5/2012 8:15:08 AM
Report abuse

Help! I'm having a baby in October and I do not know if i should vaccinate at all. I do not like to give my children any vaccines however I do not know if there are some that are okay over others or if nothing is best. I recently read an article that on July 20th 3 babies died in hospital from anaphylactic shock due to hep B vaccine.


At NVIC, we appreciate your concerns, need for information, and desire to want to do what is best for your newborn baby as well as for your older children. Although NVIC doesn't provide specific medical advice, we do make available information about the risk and benefits associated with various disease and vaccines. We recommend that all parents work with a trusted health care professional to make educated and informed decisions about vaccination that considers relevant family medical history including any reactions experienced by you or your older children. Your health. Your family. Your choice.
8/18/2013 10:00:35 AM
Report abuse

Hi, I am trying to find information on the T-DAP shot. I have a 5 year old who is due for a t-dap shot and i am pregnant and due in a few months so i am concerning about my baby getting whooping cough. I am trying to find out if i am going to give my 5 year old the shot but i am scared of the side effects... but also concerned for the baby. please help. when i look up research i see people feeling both ways... please help! thank you.

Editors Note: Dani, here is our Pertussis page:
9/9/2013 12:31:12 AM
Report abuse

Prakash Ravichandran

I did physical examination for my son in Horizon Health Center at Jersey city. Except one vaccination (DPT), they have completed rest checkup and vaccinations on November 11, 2013 as DPT was not in stock. Now i have received a reminder from school that he will not be admitted in school if the DPT vaccination is not done before January 2nd 2014. But, even after one month the Health center is reporting us that they haven't received DPT in their stock. They also communicated that they are not sure about when they will receive. However they have asked us to call on Monday (December 30, 2013). Kindly suggest us to move forward if they again report non availability of stock.

Editors note: Dear Prakash, I suggest you get a note from his doctor with estimated availability date for the shot and provide it to his school. They should not penalize you for what is not available, it appears it is the doctor who needs to justify, not you.
12/27/2013 12:14:55 PM
Report abuse

Susan Klick
Why are vaccines "one size fits all"
They give a low weight baby the same size serum as a 10 lb baby. Then CDC states that low weight babies are at risk. It looks like the industry has created this risk.

The best results that I have experienced with my family to counteract and prevent the side effects of vaccines is Homeopathic medicine with a very skilled and experienced practitioner. They are not all equally skilled!!

Best regards!!
2/13/2014 12:19:53 PM
Report abuse


What can we do to detox our child after they receive a vaccine?

4/7/2014 10:26:48 PM
Report abuse

Any suggestions for a 19yr old, never vaccinated daughter that wants to go into nursing (NICU). Healthy, suffers from no chronic or acute illness, or allergies. When the cyclical bugs go round she usually misses them, and if knocked down she is quickly on her feet through chiropractic & nutritional intervention. She has had chickenpox & exposed to measles, but never contracted.

As a freshman the opportunity for volunteerism has been shut by the "educated" gate keepers that announced she will not be allowed due to non vaccination .. adding that she will never get a job due to vaccination policy.

I have heard varying discussions of vaccination by single strains, &/or specific manufacture-or's of product that do not contain the neuro toxic issues.

We are concerned that direct injection of these toxins could do more harm than good, but want to support her career motives.

Editors Note: Dear Tony and family, as you pointed out "volunteering" has been refused and it is the same with many if not all medical/nursing programs we are familiar with. We suggest your daughter contact These are current nursing professionals who will be intimately familiar with her options. Your health. Your family. Your choice.
5/29/2014 12:03:06 PM
Report abuse

Leave comment

 Security code

Copyright 1982-2014 National Vaccine Information Center. All Rights Reserved.
21525 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 100 Sterling, VA 20166