18 answers

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..

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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!


1 mom found this helpful

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.

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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.

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