Childhood vaccinations are displayed at the Tulsa County Health Department James O. Goodwin Health Center Nov. 2, 2018. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

As a pediatrician, I work together with the families of the children I treat. It’s a partnership because the parents and I have the same goal: to keep children healthy and safe.

We need that relationship of mutual trust so we can talk openly about issues that impact a child’s health, such as vaccinations.

As the Dec. 3 editorial notes, most Oklahomans vaccinate their children, and therefore most of my patients can spend their childhoods learning, playing and growing ("Polling shows vast majority of Oklahomans believe vaccinations are effective. But vaccines don't work, if you don't get vaccinated.").

However, as misinformation, hesitancy and negative rhetoric around vaccinations have grown, I am concerned that more and more children will not have the protection they need to live healthy lives.

A decision as important as vaccination should come from a conversation between parents and their child’s physician, rather than from social media or a blog, which may not have the most current medical information.

Having a physician you can trust means you can discuss your concerns and work with the doctor as a team to provide optimal care for your child.

Children face enough challenges as it is. A broken wrist on the playground or a cold caught from preschool aren’t problems that are easy to avoid. But we can protect children from tetanus, measles, mumps and other diseases — and we’ve had that ability for more than 50 years.

I have been involved in immunization safety and efficacy clinical trials first-hand, and I encourage parents to make their children’s world safer by talking with their pediatrician about vaccinations.

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