E.B. asks from Denver, CO on April 09, 2008
Experiences with Delayed Vaccination Schedule?
I have a three-month old daughter who has been through her newborn and two-month immunization shots. I continue to struggle with the shots and have lots of concerns with them.
We see a great pediatrician and since the first day I met with him, I have asked many questions about the shots. He has been great and repeatedly tells me that he wants me to be comfortable with my baby's care. However, his position medically is that the CDC immunization schedule is the right thing to do from a medical standpoint and that is his recommendation. At our last visit, I asked him more questions, especially regarding the multi-vaccination shot they were giving her and he was very reassuring saying that all of his children have been given these same shots, etc..
I was feeling ok (not great) about keeping her on the recommended schedule until I read a mamasource posting on Sunday citing a potential link between polyvalant (or multivalant) vaccines and SIDS. I admit that I Googled these types of vaccines and all this stuff came up about the DTAP shot and a possible link to SIDS. I started to read some of these stories and I had to make myself stop! I have to say, as a first-time mom, SIDS ranks up there as one of my worst fears. I'm not normally this paranoid but I think because I'm a first-time mom who already felt unsure about immunization shots paired with a fear of SIDS has got me concerned about the issue all over again. The amount of information you can get from the internet could make anyone crazy!
I was wondering if anyone out there has experience with any sort of delayed vaccination schedule. My gut instinct is telling me to switch to a delayed schedule (non CDC), at least until she is 6 months old. I'm a stay-at-home mom, she's not going to daycare and she's healthy. I found a web site http://www.generationrescue.org/vaccines.html that seems to be a good resource as a starting point for information regarding delaying the shots. I feel like there is so much balanced information out there on both sides of the issue (to vaccinate or not to vaccinate ... ) that it has been hard for me to make a decision I feel good about. Weighing the risks and benefits is tough! I don't want to do anything that would put my daughter in harm's way but there seem to be risks on both sides. A delayed vaccination schedule sounds like a happy medium.
With my baby's 4-month appointment right around the corner, I want to gather as much information as I can before that appointment so I can have a conversation with our pediatrician about it.
Thank you for reading this long request and for any stories or advice you can share!!
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So What Happened?™
Thank you so much to everyone who responded with advice, suggestions and shared experiences! I know this is kind of a hot topic and I was so encouraged by the supportive words, even by moms who don't agree with the idea. We went in for our 4-month pediatrician visit yesterday and I shared with the doctor about the plan to move to a delayed vaccination schedule. The doc was very supportive and reiterated how important vaccines are, etc.. The doc also said because my daughter is 100% breast fed, she is getting all of my good antibodies. I also shared with the doc that I have been stockpiling breast milk in a chest freezer since the day my milk came in and he shared with me that the earlier milk has more of the good antibodies in it than the milk she's getting today. Since I will use that stored milk to mix with rice, etc. in the coming months, I know that my daughter will be getting even more of my good antibodies. That was great to hear! I still have more to read up on before her 6-month visit because I will most likely opt out of certain vaccinations but I've got some time! It feels so good to ask for advice and to have so many people respond! The best part about the responses I received was the overwhelming support in trusting our own mother's intuition. Being a new mom, it's something that I need to listen to more closely. Thanks again!
S.L. answers from Fort Collins on April 10, 2008
I haven't been able to read through all your responses, but I will recommend Dr. Sears' "The Vaccine Book." You can get it for about $10 on Amazon.com. It details each vaccine and tells you what is in it and talks about the issue of overdosing on aluminum, which has replaced mercury as a preservative in most vaccines. Most importantly, he gives you honest information about the diseases that each vaccine covers - how severe it really is, who is most susceptible to it, and AT WHAT AGES each is most dangerous to your baby. For example, if a child is in the most danger from a disease between birth and six months, and he doesn't receive full protection from a vaccine until his booster shot at 1 year, that doesn't make much sense?! He also includes a modified vaccination schedule. I understand that most of the recommended vaccines are on this schedule, he just spreads them out and delays them.
I can't tell you what would be best for your daughter. You are right that it is difficult to get unbiased information from either side. Like everything else in life, and especially medical care, it is an issue of weighing risks and benefits and making the best decisions you can for your daughter. I would say, don't feel rushed to make a decision by the time her checkup gets here. If you are waiting on a book, or still weighing your options, that is okay. Most doctor's offices will allow you to schedule an "outpatient" appt for vaccinations, and you do not have to pay your office visit fee. You just bring baby in and get shots and go. For those who say you should vaccinate for the public good... I will just say that a parent's job is to take care of his or her child, not everyone elses! The idea that a few children are expendable for the greater good is horrific. Shame on you.
You are right that the fact that you stay at home and do not put your daughter in daycare reduces the risk of her contracting communal diseases. If she is breastfeeding, she is even more protected, as she receives every antibody you have in your own immune system - pretty cool and a totally safe alternative to vaccines!! Remember that anytime she does get a vaccine, she should be totally healthy. Not even the sniffles or a cough, though most doctors will still vaccinate a baby in that case. If her immune system is already under fire, it would be wise not to stress it further. Also, keep her home for a couple days after her vaccination, as some vaccines can shed from her body and expose other children to whatever disease your daughter was just vaccinated for.
Personally, we delayed vaccinating and were very selective of the vaccinations we gave both of our daughters. Our doctor recommended the HIB and Pneumococcal (Prevnair) vaccines, and also DTaP. With our first, we did HIB & Pneum together, two shots every other month, and then we did her DTaP shots every other month. When she is much older - at LEAST school age - we will give her the MMR. For our second daughter, we have declined the HIB, as we learned from her doctor that HIB has been largely eradicated. We are contemplating the chickenpox vaccine if they have not had it by the time they are teenagers.
There are still A LOT of questions about vaccines, and you are wise to ask them. Despite scare tactics to the contrary, many diseases that we vaccinate for are not life-threatening. (Chickenpox? Come on! The only kids who die from chickenpox are severely immune compromised already.) The are finding out that for some vaccines, like HepB, by giving them to babies they wear off by the time the child needs it most - when he becomes a sexually active adult. I always remind myself of the fact that vaccine companies are making billions of dollars every year. Doctors are making billions of dollars by giving your child vaccines. I am not saying that doctors are corrupt and in it for the money, but they believe what they are taught, and vaccine companies are expending huge amounts of money "educating" doctors. I think there is an amount of skepticism that is healthy. Do your research, don't allow yourself to be bullied, and take the time you need to make the right decisions for your children.
Best of Luck,
By the way - Many proponents of vaccines are pointing to outbreaks of diseases that we are vaccinated for as reason to require vaccines. Some even blame non-vaxing parents for them. What they fail to mention (because it is rarely reported by the doctors or the media) is that it is often children who have been vaccinated who are getting the diseases. During a recent outbreak of chickenpox back east, 86% of the affected children were fully vaccinated!!
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M.M. answers from Denver on April 10, 2008
Hi, E.! You are right to be concerned. Vaccines, while valuable in certain cases, also can be dangerous. In the last 20 years or so, we've gone from 8 recommend childhood vacciness to about 40. During this same peiod of time, autism rates have climbed dramtically. Recently, the government finally conceded to a family that their autistic child's autism was indeed caused by vaccinations. SIDS rates in countries that mandata vacciness for children under the age of 2 are very high; whereas in countries that postpone vaccines until past 2 have almost no incidence of SIDS.
For an indication of how dangerous vaccines are, you only have to look at the law passed in 1986. Called the childhood vaccination injury protection act, one would think it was designed to protect children from injury from vaccines. Quite the opposite. THe law protects vaccines manufacturers from liability due to their vaccines injuring children. Think of it from the vaccine manufacturers stand point - they now can create a product, get the government to mandate people buy it so they have a guaranteed HUGE market, and have NO liability whatsoever if their product harms someone. No wonder the rate at which vaccines are being developed and added to the immunization schedule is so high.
All that is a long way of saying, while I vaccinated my 4 year old because I didn't know any better, I am not vaccinating my one year old son. After he is two, I will selectively vaccinate for those things that are truly concerning to me.
In Colorado, don't let anyone tell you that you have to vaccinate. You don't. Not even if you are going to send your kids to day care or public school. Turn over the vaccination record and sign it where it says you object to vaccination. That's all you have to do. Schools cannot require you to vaccinate.
If your doctor doesn't support your choice, find one that will. There are many good ones that do not try to force vaccines on their patients. If you are any where near Westminster, Colorado, contact Dr. Trish Kloor's office at ###-###-####. She is a pediatric chiropractor, and she does an excellent 2 hour seminar on vaccines, their history, the risks, etc. etc. It is great!
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T.S. answers from Denver on April 10, 2008
I agree with Jennifer J. There's been alot of questions about how healthy it is to give infants so many shots. If you postpone the shots for a few months so you can research your options and make an educated decision, it won't hurt your little girl but it will give you peace of mind that you're doing the right thing. Doctors don't like to be challenged but the human race survived along time before they stuck their noses into parenting. Do what feels right for you and your little girl, not what everyone else thinks is best.
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J.J. answers from Colorado Springs on April 10, 2008
First of all, Bravo! for being such a strong advocate for your child's health! The immunization quandary is a tough one because there seems to be 2 very different schools of thought and not a lot of middle ground. With both of my daughters, now 6 1/2 and 2 1/2 we have delayed or indefinitely postponed vaccinations. For instance, there is very little Polio left on the planet, so until they decide to travel to India or the Middle East, we're holding off on Polio. We also have elected to wait on the MMR. Not only are there still too many unanswered questions about a link between autism and the MMR vaccine, but until there was a vaccine, Measles Mumps and Rubella were routine childhood illnesses. Chicken pox is a great example of how an illness becomes vilified once there is a vaccine. In spite of what some pediatricians may tell us, have any of us ever heard of a fatal case of chicken pox? Also, the only way to have lifelong immunity to the virus is to have the virus. So, I tell our pediatrician at every visit, that I will continue to try to expose my kids to the pox until they are about 10. If we can't get it by then, we'll vax. He rolls his eyes, every time. But we agree to disagree.
Do all the research you can. Follow your gut and you will make the right decision. For those out there that say not vaxing puts others in danger, I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm going to put the health and well-being of my kids first, every time. I expect you all to do the same!
Good luck wresting with this issue, E.. For me it has been the most agonizing part of motherhood. There don't seem to be any easy answers!
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D.K. answers from Denver on April 09, 2008
I can say about vaccinations that your Dr is leading you in the right direction. Infants are very vulnerable. Whooping cough and measles have reared their heads in mainstream schools now due to non vaccination. A baby getting exposed to either is deadly. You cannot put her in a box to prevent illness but vaccinations were invented for a reason to protect them as much as possible. Mercury is not in almost any vaccines anymore, so the risk of autism is really non existant. There are children that have severe reactions to vaccines and that is horrible. I know each family has to do what they deem as best for their children. I think though there are so many people on bandwagons for both sides you will not be able to do anything but take both sides and weigh the odds. I have always advocated vaccinations, both of my kids handled them fine, my daughter even being so tiny she did fine. There was an outbreak of chicken pox at her school and thankfully just had the booster for it. I had shingles myself and their are horrific for adults. I also went and had a DTP shot this year as a booster for myself, as I saw what whooping cough can do to a grown up when my friend got it and was laid up for weeks and in pain from coughing.
Delays are always an option, if she is going to daycare, going to be around other children or preschool prior to the age of two you need to factor that in however. If she doesn't get exposure to a lot of other children and you feel it is the right thing to do then of course follow your gut instinct as a parent. It is kind of like the milk controversy, there are always two sides and you can only choose for yourself in the end on these things. There are no proven facts on a lot of this stuff nowdays, speculation, opinions and minimal research is all we as moms go off of. I would say even back in the 60's when I got all my shots I cannot recall one friend that had a severe reaction or trouble due to the shots and they had mercury in them at that point.
DO what you want to do.
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