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Opting Out of Vaccinations for Infants

Has anyone chosen not to vaccinate their infant, or delay the vaccination or only do some of them while opting out on others? If so, what helped you make this decision? I've heard some negative stories about vaccinations being harmful and I want to make an educated decision about vaccinating my baby.

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It's funny you should ask this question because I was just chatting about this with a girlfriend and my husband about this very topic. My baby is nearly three months old and we never thought about not vaccinating. Having heard that people question the practice stunned us and we had to look it up to have specific data to back up our argument for always vaccinating. Below is probably the best info we found on this subject. It is written by a doctor who grappled with the issue and found no logical argument for not vaccinating, based on her research and practical experience. http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mvaccine.html
I hope this helps you. I believe strongly that vaccination is truly the best choice you can make for your child.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi, I have a 2.5 yr old and another on the way due July. I didn't know anything about vaccinations until I took a Bradley birth class and one of the couples in the class as well as our instructor mentioned that they were choosing not to vaccinate their children. We delayed the Hepatitis shot (usually given after birth) until my daughter's 2 week visit. Other than that she had all her shots until we found out she had multiple food allergies, around 6 months old. That was when I started reading about vaccinations. Since she had already started most of them by then, we finished whatever she had already started. However, I've chosen not to have her have any more shots ie. MMR, Chicken Pox or Flu. For baby #2 I'm opting out of the Hepatitis, the Vitamin K shot, MMR, Chicken Pox, and Flu. Also anything that contains thimerasol (mercury preservative), baby #2 will not get either. I think that you have to really do your research and decide which diseases you would not want to risk your child getting. www.babycenter.com has a very informative Vaccinations bulletin board that I use a lot. Also, I can recommend the books: "What your doctor may not tell you about children's vaccinations" by Stephanie Cave and Deborah Mitchell and "Vaccinations A Thoughtful Parent's Guide: How to make safe, sensible decisions about the risks, benefits and alternatives" by Aviva Jill Romm. Fortunately the state of Minnesota allows all 3 exemptions: Medical, Religious and Philosophical for school entry so non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated kids should not have problems getting into public school. Another challenge may be finding a pediatrician who supports your vaccination decisions. I've heard of some who will flat out refuse to see your child if you choose not to vaccinate. We just moved to the Twin Cities so I am in the process of trying to choose a ped now. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful

As a mom of two and a public school teacher, I did think on this for a long time. I always came back to, 'yes to the vaccinations'. There are a few of the diseaes that are making a horrible return, including mumps, whooping caugh and one of the new vaccines covers HiB which is a virus that kills infants and spreads quickly. Even though your child is not in school, you probably still go out in public. There are people who carry these diseases around teh store in a cough in the bus. I have dozens of friends and aquaintances who have vaccinated many children and none have had more of a reaction than being a little fussy. I know some people fear that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine but the autism specialist at our school feels that is absolutely not true. It just happens that many parents notice the signals of autism around the time that the MMR vaccine is given. Do your research, but really the number the truly, dangerous reactions to vaccines and the potential risk of actualy infection, especially with such a young baby..

1 mom found this helpful

Hi,

I think you are very wise to question vaccinations. We chose to selectively vaccinate our daughter after reading a wealth of literate on the topic. I read a few books- one for, one against, and one that was neutal. The neutral was the most informative and for me, the most persuasive. I'm not at home now so I don't have the titles and authors, but you can easily find them via a google search on vacciantions. I even spoke to our pediatrition, who, of course, is all for every shot, but he was also very encouraging for parents to do their own research and not to blindly trust whatever is currently recommended at the time. They are still learning so much about the potential harmful effects of all these shots when our babies are so little. Whatever you decide to so, please be sure it is a very informed decision and that it is YOUR decision. Be sure to balance all the pros and cons and know there is always a potential cost to whatever benefit you seek. Further, a risk-benefit analysis is helpful. Many of the diseaes they vaccinate against are obsolete, and if your child did contract one of them, the chances are there will be no long term effects and virtually no risk of death. These are things you can find out for yourself via independent research. Keep in mind that most parents have extremely strong beliefs about the subject, but a lot of times those beliefs are completely without any current factual support. Good luck!

R.

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P.,
I have a 15 month ol girl and I made up my own vaccination schedule. I read the book what your doctor won't tell you about vaccinations(or something like that)anyways I was very concerned about giving them to my daughter. My daughter was premature and wasn't breastfeed. I waited till she was three months to start vaccinations and she only got one shot. We went in each month and she got one or two shots whatever my schedule said. Her doctor was very supportive and followed my schedule. I would be happy to talk with you more if you are interested. J.

1 mom found this helpful

It looks like you're getting good points of view from both sides here. But please, talk to your pediatrician, talk to pediatricians in different offices. Check the web, go to the library, do your homework and then make your decision. Personally, I chose to have my kids vaccinated per the perscribed schedule and we have had no ill effects other than some irritability. I had meninjitis as a child, and luckily came out of it unscathed. I have extended family members that are survivors of Polio, not unscathed. Check out the March of Dimes and the American Medical Association. Ask other doctors, not necessarily pediatricians about their options/opinions. Ask the nurses. They hear a lot of medical buzz. You can get a lot of opinions on this subject, but I have found that often decisions were made on what someone had 'heard' and not because they had any statistics or facts. Do your research, form your decision, and then either way you will have done the right thing for your family. - If you plan to move or change schools, check the local laws. Many now have exceptions and have relaxed the criteria, but not too long ago, all public schools required a child to be vaccinated to register. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi P.,

I have a 19-month old son, and yes, we choose to delay all vaccinations and will probably not do some at all.
A few reasons I did not vaccinate are:
1. vaccinations are supposed to start at 2-months old, at that time I just didn't feel that I, or my doctor, knew my son well enough and, frankly I wasn't confident enough to be ready to deal with even the minor reactions. For instance, if he had a major adverse reaction to a vaccine (autism (i know its controversial) or brain damage), how could we could trace it to the vaccine, or just what would have been his development? If he had a 'minor' reaction, high temp, inability to sleep or not waking up, screaming, how would I deal with it? I had a friend in baby group who swears her son started having seizures after his second dose of the PrevNar vaccine, but of course, her doctor says the baby would have had that anyway...how will they ever know? This is why information about vaccines is so incomplete.
2. 2-months old is so young, and the baby's weight is so small, that shooting them up with 4 viruses and the preservatives that those vaccines carry just seem overwhelming to a new person whose body is still learning how to function on its own.
3. I was home with my son until he was 4 months old, and though we didn't live in a bubble, i couldn't believe his risk for developing Hepatitis or diptheria was really so great that he needed to start vaccines so young. 2 of the nurses at my HealthPartners clinic agreed, and told me that they too, had delayed vaccination.
4. I NEVER got the same answer twice from doctors about what were really the 'most important' vaccines for him to get. Each one (i made appointments with however I could get in with at the time) would say 'its ok if you delay some of the vaccines, but you really should do X or Y.' and the vaccines recommended, again, were NEVER the same. How could there be such difference in opinion between individual doctors when the medical community as a whole pushes vaccines so hard?

Starting at 12-months, we did give my son the DTaP vaccine, because Pertussis really is on the rise and there is a risk of him catching it. We are considering starting the MMR vaccine (due to recent Mumps cases), but haven't completely decided.

The National Vaccine Information center (NVIC) has a good website, I read a good book about vaccines - it seemed fairly balanced (gave examples of people who have suffered consequences from both illness and vaccines. i lent it to a friend and can't remember the name, I will get the name and send it to you. I did not find the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website helpful, it was too difficult to navigate.
Finally, i have a few friends in Canada, where vaccines are not so many or quite so pushed in the medical community. One has a daughter who has (by 16 months) already had chicken pox and german measles, both of which meant 3-5 days of fever and some inconvinience...but that's it.

Its a personal choice, do what you think is best and be confident about it. If you're unsure, my best advice is to wait, you can always stop in your clinic without an appointment and they'll be more than happy to provide the vaccine!!

I'll get back to you with the book title.

Good luck,

H. S., RD

1 mom found this helpful

There is one thing I know for sure that I will be postponing for my daughter, and that is the MMR. I think it's usually given at about 12-15 months but I am going to have them wait until 18 months. My sister was able to do that for her kids and it worked out well for her. That's the one I worry about most. They used to separate them out into three shots if you asked but apparently they won't anymore. This is the compromise my sister was offered and I will be doing it as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi P.,

That was also a big decision for me and I chose not to vaccinate my daughter. I had some knowledge of the subject, but one book I read that I would highly recommend is called The Vaccine Guide by Randall Neustaedter. It is the most unbiased information I could find and it is easy to read. It is divided by vaccine and by disease so you can look and the risk of the vaccine and the risk of the disease and decide if it is one you would like your child to receive. I myself am a chiropractor so I try to use natural approaches whenever possible. It also has nutritional advice to keep your immune system healthy. Getting your child adjusted also helps the immune system.
I will give my daughter the tetanus vaccine when she is a little older. If your child is in a large daycare you may opt to give some of the other vaccines or at least wait until she is a little older and has more of a developed immune system. The reason they give many of them so young is for convenience, they are there for well child visits so may as well save time and give shots too. Not the best idea in my opinion.
Let me know if you have any other questions or are in need of a chiropractor.

L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi P.,

I know I'm a little late providing info, but I read your question and just had to pipe up.

My son had surgery at just a few weeks old for Pyloric Stenosis and was in the hospital for a few days (Children's Hospital Mpls., which I LOVED). After his surgery he got a cold, which we thought was no big deal, but it kept getting worse. The cough woke him up at night, and none of us could sleep. One day he started coughing and his mouth turned blue and he couldn't breathe. We rushed him to the ER, and as soon as Dr. Mila Santiago (also LOVE) looked at him and heard his cough, she said "Whooping Cough. He has Pertussis." The quick-test came back negative, but within an hour the long-culture came back positive for Pertussis. We had to call and cancel his 8-week check up for the next day, where he would've gotten the vaccine, because he already had the condition. He was in the hospital for a few days where he was monitored 24/7 and hooked up to a monitor at night to make sure he didn't stop breathing, which he did, once - thank goodness we were at the hospital at the time - and he had to be on IVs and couldn't eat regularly because he'd cough so hard he'd vomit or gag. My baby was just two months old, already through surgery, and was hooked up to all these machines and could've died, all because someone didn't get vaccinated and spread this disease to other people - innocent people, like babies who were scheduled to be vaccinated and just hadn't gotten to the appointment yet.

My husband and I, my parents, grandmother, and my in-laws all had to go on antibiotics, my husband, my mother, and I all missed a week of work, and my mother-in-law and my grandmother actually came down with Pertussis themselves.

My son missed out on his 2-month vaccinations and was off schedule for the rest of them. The hospital is required to report any cases of communicable disease to the department of health, so we had to communicate with them on my son's condition and made a trip down to their office so that they could take some records on our experience.

As a mother of children who have been vaccinated, I think it is appalling that people refuse to vaccinate their children. I've actually heard of people who don't just because their child got fussy or a little feverish once, and they didn't want the hassle. This is ridiculous. If you're not going to think of your own child's health, think of the risk you're posing to other children by subjecting them to whatever your child might carry, even if he/she doesn't get the disease him/herself. Our pediatrician refuses to see children of parents who refuse vaccination, on the very principle that she's seen what these diseases do to children, and it breaks her heart.

I know there are many people out there who would dispute me, but I don't think they'd feel the same if they'd seen their baby hooked up to those monitors and tubes and come so close to dying from something they themselves cannot control. We must protect our children and choose for them when they are too young to choose for themselves. I felt so helpless, even though I couldn't have done anything differently to make it turn out better. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I hope my experience has enlightened you, and I'm certain you'll do what's best for your baby girl.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried Mothering (natural family living) magazine? They have a website, which is www.mothering.com. I know that they are always publishing articles related to vaccines in their magazine. You can view some articles from their website, and you can purchase some back issues and single articles too. Hope that helps. Otherwise, you may wish to contact a natural family living doula or Bradley class instructor, as they might have some info. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 22 month old and a 4 and a half year old -- I wondered the same thing at one point. I found out quite a bit; a lot of the reports of autism resulting from vaccines were coming from the UK and were spun by a pr group that was hired by an autism parents group who were understandably looking for an answer to their children's autism. They quoted a report that was later found to have no real basis. I consulted with several pediatricians (both in NYC and Minneapolis, as we live in NYC but are from Mpls originally) and all said the same thing: that the only reason people nowadays even are considering not vaccinating their children is a testament to how successful they have been in erradicating horrible diseases (Jane Brody from the NY Times has a really good column you could search for on this too at nytime.com). Also, the doctors pointed out that anyone who lives in a city that has an int'l airport should absolutely vaccinate their children -- many countries don't have the vaccines we do, and people carry diseases around. The ped's all agreed if I lived in a rural area where my baby would never be exposed to others and we never travelled anywhere then it might be ok not to vaccinate, but we certainly don't live like that...
On a personal note, my dad got polio when he was a little boy -- it was a horrible epidemic in the 40s in this country and he was wrapped in a blanket, brought to a hospital and quarantined for a year. Then the vaccine was developed and it literally saved him.
So, we've vaccinated both our little boys even though it made me a bit nervous, but the benefits far outweigh any evidence we could find of horrible side effects.

1 mom found this helpful

So this isn't Mama, but Papa; I (along with my "ex") decided to opt out of the entire set of vaccinations. Here's why.

First, we decided that most illnesses which vaccinations target have been becoming less and less frequent not because of vaccinations, but because our living conditions in the US have steadily improved over time. Take, for example Polio--the instances of Polio were decreasing rapidly due to better hygiene. The spike in occurrences, it seems, came as a result of the live vaccine that was introduced. This vaccine was subsequently changed for this reason.

Secondly, many of the illnesses actually make the immune system stronger after having gotten them; the illness themselves (almost all of them) can be overcome by the body. Therefore, we figured "why not let the immune system do its job?"

Thirdly, many feel the increased diagnoses of autism have been linked to vaccinations. Given the low risk in getting the illness versus the seeming increased risk of getting autism, we felt it a good idea to steer clear.

The most ridiculous vaccination, it seems, is the Chix Pox. I am actually looking for a child that has them so my daughter can be exposed while she is younger so she is better able to breeze through them without the risk of permanent scarring that can occur should an older child be infected. Too, the Chix Pox vaccine doesn't absolutely guarantee the child will never be infected.

The ONLY vaccine we considered was for Strep B because of the risk of meningitis (sp?). However, even the risk of contracting meningitis didn't outweigh the risk of the vaccine.

My personal feeling is that vaccinations are done more out of fear at the hands of your doctor. The vaccination business is booming--almost every child gets them. Given the huge financial incentive for vaccine manufaturers to have every child vaccinated, it seems like vaccines are financially motivated rather than health motivated. As I said, our standard of living in most areas (I may have a different opinion were I to be in a very dense, inner-city dwelling) has mitigated the risk of these illness to the extent that I cannot justify risking vaccinating my child. But keep in mind that this opinion is considered very extreme by some; you need to be very ready for the strange looks and thoughts that you are an irresponsible mother that you will undoubtedly endure as a result of your conscientious objectionism.

I am not sure where you live, but there are generally groups that meet to discuss trends in vaccinations--some of these groups discuss reasons against them. You should be able to find them online.

I hope this helps. Should you have any further requests for opinions, please don't hesitate to ask.

1 mom found this helpful

I grappled with this question as well, there is a lot of contradicting information out there that I found it difficult to even make a decision. If you are leaning towards the non-vax, mothering.com had a large forum where some of your questions will be answered. Beware tho, most women on that site are very anti-vax and that may not be helpful if you are still undecided. I have an 18 month old and twin 6 month olds (and a 6 year old who is vaccinated according to the normal schedule) For the last 3 I decided to go with a delayed vaccination schedule which means that they only get one at a time to start then when they are older and have showed they do not react to any they get two or more at time. I personnally think 4-6 shots at a time is a bit out of hand, if they have a reaction how do you know which one they reacted too? While I am not all gung ho to do the vaccines according to the normal schedule I beleive very much in vaccines, what they have done to protect children from serious illness has been wonderful so I am certainly not anti-vax. Any information you find while searching, take with a grain of salt b.c both sides of the issue feel very strongly about their stand point. Also expect a bit of flack from your doctors office if you do anything out of the ordinary. I had to switch Ped's b.c the one I was going to was very ignorant to me about my choices to delay vax, I have a doctor now that , although he obviously does not agree with my views, he respects my decision as a mother to vax how I see fit. My children will all end up with all the vaccines recommneded by the time they are two, it just takes a little longer and a few more visits to get there. Again, if you go searching just expect to find a lot of very different points of view about the issue. That is why I found it best to kind of take a "middle of the raod" approach, I am comfortable with that but this decision is a tough one and only you know in your gut what is best for your child. Talk to your doctor (he will be more than likely be very pro-vax but if you tust him/her they should be able to at least answer some of your questions honestly and respect your decision whatever it may be. Anyhow I know this probably didn't even answer many of your questions, I just wanted to give you some info about how I came to my decision and hopefully that will help you some in your decision. Good Luck

I have had my childs immunizations, but I can understand that you would want to know what they are for and the risk level of serious side effects. I found that "The Complete and Authoritative Guide Caring for your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5" The American Academy of Pediatrics book is very informative and explains about immunizations on page 673. It is very important that you let your Dr know that you are feeling uncomfortable. They will let you bring your child in for more appts so that the only get one shot at a time. I hope this is helpful and that you find the resources to help you make the right choices for your family.

I did my daughter's vaccinations at a slower pace. I did them as outlined in a book that I have at home (on vacation until Tues) The title is something like "Vaccinations and what your doctor is not telling you"

The author is an MD. I like the information and it has worked well for my daughter.

C.

P.,

I had similar concerns about vaccinations but did a lot of research and decided to go ahead with them. The risk of NOT getting the vaccinations far outweigh any risks associated with them. Especially since many of the concerns people have with vaccinations (particularly autism) have never been tied directly to the shots. Talk to your doctor about your concerns too. Good luck!

P.,
I have chosen with my own son to do only one vacine at a time. I have never given him a vacine if he was sick. I had also waited until he was almost 2 before doing the MMR. When he had the MMR I was able to do those individually too. Now unfortunately they no longer offer the MMR as 3 separate shots. I spaced his vacines about 2 months apart.

Many parents are concerned that the MMR is linked to Autism. I have to say that both my son and nephews can prove that vacines are not the cause for having autism. My sister in law has two boys with Asbergers and my own son is also on the autism spectrum. My sister in-law has opted out and has not given her youngest son vacines and he has recently been diagnosed with asbergers. It definitely most run in my husband side of the family.

I am opting out of giveng my son the chicken pox vacine.

My opinoin is to follow your heart and be sure to not give your child any vacines when they are even the slightest bit sick.

I hope that this was helpful. This is a very charged debate and everyone has their own perspectives.

Good Luck-J.

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