Parents and grandparents attending the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association's breakfast Tuesday were urged not to fall prey to the urban myths cautioning against vaccinating young children.

More than 100 residents turned out at Three Brothers Family Restaurant for the third annual "Caring for Our Community Breakfast."

The event officially launched the third book written by VNA community health nurse Geri Rodda, "Vaccines for Maxine."

Speakers included pediatrician Dr. Evan Hack and general practitioner Dr. George "Chip" Barth.

"Studies have found that parents are getting misinformation on vaccines through blog groups," Barth said. "Geri's book brings basic science to folks who are afraid of vaccinating their children."

"`Vaccines for Maxine' tackles the topic of immunizations in an entertaining and reader friendly style," Rodda said. "It is suitable for children and adults alike."

Like Rodda's other books, "The Flu and You" and "Lyme in Rhyme," this book is written in rhythmic format and colorfully illustrated.

Hack noted "A lot of parent concerns don't make sense scientifically. There is no reason to fear vaccinating young children."

"Babies can handle this," he added. "They come in contact with more active components (that naturally immunize) when they play in the dirt."

"While it's true that children receive more vaccinations now between birth and age 2 than they did in the 1950s," Hack explained, "the number of active components now used in those vaccines has been cut in half. It's just 150."

The VNA breakfast this year coincided with National Infant Immunization Week, which promotes the benefits of immunizations to improve the health of children aged 2 and younger.

"If there were no vaccines being administered today, a flu epidemic like the one in the early 1900s would have killed half the people in this room," Hack said.

Many illnesses still exist around the world that were basically eradicated in the United States through the immunization efforts of the 20th century, he warned.

Business travel and that many university students travel to areas where these diseases are still prevalent means these diseases are still brought into this country.

Small pox still exists in parts of the world.

Whooping cough is on the rise in the U.S. because people are not vaccinating their children.

Measles and mumps are again present in patients, Hack said.

A second series of immunizations is recommended around age 10 as immunity to some diseases wanes at that time, he added.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322