A.C. asks from Independence, MO on July 29, 2008
Vaccinations - Independence, MO
I know vaccinations are a controversial issue, but I wanted to hear other moms' opinions. I am asking for your experience & reasons for not vaccinating, vaccinating partially, spreading out vaccinations, or doing recommended schedule of vaccines by AAP.
My son will turn 1 in less than a month. I have always been on the fence about vaccinations, but do feel they are necessary and important. My debate has always been with whether or not all the vaccines we give are given at the appropriate age. I have read Dr. Sears' 'The Vaccine Book' which has validated my concerns even more (when you read about the diseases and what the vaccines are made of, you really start to question the current schedule and what we are putting into our babies' bodies!!!). But, I chose to vaccinate my son with the recommended vaccine schedule up until age 1, and then see if I wanted to do anything different.
My biggest concern, as with many parents, is with the MMR vaccine. Being that I have a boy I am even more concerned about the possible link with autism and this vaccine (higher incidence of autism in boys). I know there has been no proof either way, but hearing/reading stories of how children seemed normal until after receiving the MMR, it scares me to death. On one hand, I feel that I should follow my pediatrician's recommendation to stay on schedule and that most children are fine doing so. But I just can't help but be timid & concerned. I would feel beyond remorseful if my son was one of the children who because of the MMR shot, he developed autism. I know they are now saying that the MMR shot in these kids just brought on the already present condition of autism, but they have not come to any conclusion yet.
Does anyone else have this concern (especially if you have a boy)? What did you decide to do? I thought that maybe I would stay on the AAP schedule but chose to give the MMR shots separately over a couple year time period. My son is not in daycare and will be watched by grandparents starting in August. But we do attend a couple play groups & I will be working at an elementary school (not sure if I could spread something to him through being exposed at school even if I am vaccinated??). I hope that my son will not have to attend a daycare until around at 3, but I cannot guarantee this. If he does have to attend daycare before he is caught up, this would concern me. This is why I thought just spreading out the MMR would be okay as he would be on schedule with all the other vaccines (daycares require vaccines unless religious reasons).
I also feel somewhat of a social responsibility for vaccinating. Dr. Sears even wrote that there are larger numbers of parents choosing not to vaccinate which is making some of the diseases we used to have eliminated, coming back. I do not want to feel my son is somehow being exposed to diseases I could have prevented if I delay them too long, either.
Also, my pediatrician does not carry the MMR shots separately. I was told to contact the health department and I have a call into them to see if they offer them. Dr. Sears' newsletter stated there is a shortage of separate MMR shots due to more parents choosing to separate them. Not sure what I would do then!
Anyway, hearing your stories & decisions may help me to make the best decision for our family. Thank you!
P.M. answers from Kansas City on July 30, 2008
I went through this with my kids.
I was able to get teh MMR in separate doses for my ds' first round - but not by the seond. And for his younger sister I couldn't get them spli.
IIRC one of the compoeent shots has a high cost due to a large min. order being required.
I seriously doubt that the health dept. would be more likely to carry them sep. I don't know anyone who has gotten them that way through the health dept. (In fact at one point my Dh needed tetnus booster after an injury and got the runarounds---ER didn't carry it....family doc. was out AND so was the health dept.)
An interesting thing is that not all states recommend the MMR at the same time...We moved from Ohio where they don't give it until 15 mos. I had a big fight with a doc here who thought I was being a terrible parent - even though I had followed ot the letter the schedule in Ohio.
I know that I delayed a LOT of vaxes with my youngest - and the doc was great. He sat with me and we discussed which illnesses she was at greatest risk of catching. When we delayed the MMR hoping for the split ones - I kept a careful wastch for outbreaks of any of those diseases and had something popped up I would have gotten her in for the shot.
L.C. answers from Kansas City on July 30, 2008
This is such a tough topic! There are pros and cons, and the cons are potentially life-threatening, or quality-of-life threatening, on both sides. Personally, we selectively vax'd and have claimed religious exemptions for my kids. Although we don't belong to a religious group that is against vaccines, Missouri doesn't require that. Just a belief.
As for why we don't vax on schedule, or do all vaccines, I feel that our medical system is using a "one size fits all" mentality that isn't working. Not all babies should get all vaccines at the same ages. Just as every person's body is different, each child can respond differently to the groups of vaccines they are given. I feel the blow to the immune system (due to all the preservatives in the vaccines, not just the manufactured virus) is too much for some kids.
Remember, YOU are the one in charge, not the doctor, the government, or the schools. It is ok to question. And you can always get most shots later after researching, you can't undo a shot already given. You might decide all the vaccines are right for your child, but on a different schedule. I know no parent who has researched vaccines thoroughly (and it's hard to find the info) and chose to go ahead with the 40+ shots on the recommended schedule. You have to do what's best for your family. Good for you for researching! Here are 2 links to look at: cdc.gov and nvic.org (National Vaccine Information Center.) CDC is obviously pro-vaccine and NVIC is pro-parent choice. On the NVIC site, look to the left for state laws and exemptions. Good luck!
C.M. answers from Kansas City on July 30, 2008
I have also recently been questioning the number of vaccines that are given all at once. With another one coming, I feel that I need to be more educated then I was with the last two. With our first two, I just kind of did what I was told. I trusted our doctors and so did not really have any reason to question them. I am glad you are bringing this up because I am sure that it will be enlightening for lots of us mom's out there.
Having said that, I want to comment on the Autism issue. I have known lots of people with Autistic children and I am amazed at how many more children are being diagnosed with it. In some ways, I think that Autism is becoming a catch all for many behavioral and developmental problems that parents don't know how to handle. It is easier to deal with something if it is given a label whether the label is accurate or not. My nephew has had several developmental issues since he was born and when he first went to school, there were so many people that wanted to give him the Autistic label because that was something that was familar to them. At the same time, I feel that Autism is a very real thing and when diagnosed properly, can be treated if not yet overcome. There is so much research being done right now to try and figure out the causes and possible treatment options. Research is finding that it is genetic disorder that is tied to the brain and the brains ability to learn and cope. While the causes of it are still unknown, it is more likely to be caused by problems with genetics between the parents of the child or something that the mother was exposed to during pregnancy then it is something that we give our children after they are born. (Perhaps all those chemicals that leak into all the water that we drink out of plastic bottles that is the big scare right now)Most children are not diagnosed with Autism until about the age of 2 because until then, most Autistic children develop at the same rate as other children. It isn't until they start learning the copeing and social skills at age 2 that it really becomes apparent that there is a problem. So, while I would do everything that I could to prevent my child from having Autism, I seriosly doubt that it is being caused by vaccines. I understand not giving our little ones so many shots at once and the fear of over loading their system, but there are reasons for them so please to not go with out them completely. The diseases that they prevent, for the most part, are horrible and crippling, if not life threatening. They are designed to help those little immune systems, not hurt it.
M.D. answers from Kansas City on July 31, 2008
Having had extensive personal experience with the vaccine controversy issue, I felt I had to weigh in. Firstly, allow me to point out that vaccines are not the only option when it comes to immunizing. There are also homeopathic immunizations, which are perfectly acceptable alternatives, and are composed of natural extracts rather than chemicals, diseases, heavy metals, and other toxins. The choice to avoid vaccines does not mean you choose not to protect your child...it means you decide to find other means of protection.
Also, you stated that daycare requires a religious exemption if you don't vaccinate...this is also untrue. A medical waiver is just as legal and acceptable as a religious one. Furthermore, the religious waiver is very flexible...it is not limited to any particular faith, and it does not require that the doctrine of your faith prohibit vaccinations. You just have to state that you believe exposing your child to the risks of vaccines is against the tenets of whatever higher power you place your faith in.
As for my personal experiences, there is a strong history of adverse reactions to vaccines in my family. I am deathly allergic to all vaccines (getting any vaccine at all causes anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening reaction, so I can't even have a flu shot when the flu season rolls around...oddly enough, I never get the flu). My brother went blind at the age of four months due to a routine DPT shot. He is now 28 years old, and my mother has still never forgiven herself for believing the vaccine hype and blinding her only son. My sister's two children both suffered horribly from the hepatitis shot that is given in the hospital at birth...both girls developed such horrible eczema that they had to spend the first several years of their lives completely naked...clothing of any sort would cause their skin to break open and bleed...and even without clothing they were still constantly raw and in pain just from ordinary contact with anything.
I guess my point is that there is a lot more that can go wrong with vaccines than just autism (although that is what you hear about the most, currently, it has not always been so). Fatalities may be uncommon, as may certain other adverse effects...but the fact that it's uncommon is no consolation when it happens to your own little one. There are plenty of options out there. Homeopathic immunizations are most easily substituted for vaccinations, since there is no waiver required as long as the child is immunized. So many people think that you have to be vaccinated to be immunized, they don't realize the waiver is only required in cases where the child is not immunized, which doesn't mean the same thing as not being vaccinated.
Due to our family medical history, we have a medical waiver rather than a religious one. My daughter's father had her illegally vaccinated despite the medical history and waiver...she is now 12 years old and suffers from almost constant gastrointestinal pain and is barely able to eat most of the time. None of the doctors or specialists can identify why this is happening to her. Before her father did this to her, she had never been ill, not even so much as an ear infection. However, since he did that, there is rarely a day that goes by when she is not ill in some way or other. She is also developmentally delayed, which was not the case before the vaccinations (which occurred when she was 4 years old). I am currently remarried, and expecting a newborn baby girl any minute now, and my husband agrees it is not worth taking the chance to have this baby vaccinated. I believe I can count on him to continue to stand by that stance, but I realize there is always the risk that he, too, will cave in to pressure and propoganda as my previous husband did.
The most important thing is not to believe anything that anyone tells you. Not me, or any of the other anti-vaccination crusaders, or any of the pro-vaccination crusaders...do your own research, study every angle and view, and come to your own conclusions. Only you can determine what's right for your child.
J.B. answers from Kansas City on August 03, 2008
This was one of my concerns also. My daughter has cerebral palsy and I was just worried about subjecting to something else. I had also just met a women who felt that the shot was to blain for her son's autism. I spoke to my doctor and he said I could wait until she was older or we could also use one that was lower in mercury. Being worried about this just makes sence to me. We aren't suppose to consume too much fish due to mercury while we are pregnant but we inject it into our kids? My daughter got to skip it when getting her shots because it can also cause seizures (which is rare, I think is is due to fever) and she has a seizure disorder. If you read up on your topic and from multiple sources, your doctor will take you seriously an discuss the issue with you and help you come to a decision you can feel comfortable with.
D.B. answers from Kansas City on July 30, 2008
I did the scheduled vaccinations for both my daughters and will for my son, who is 20 days old. They only one I refused was the chicken pox vaccination. The reasoning behind it, your vaccinations can expire and you will not have immunity to the disease and have to get a booster shot of it later in life. If they are able to get the chicken pox natural, the antibodies are present for a lifetime. This is the same for most vaccinations. If you actually have the disease, you have antibodies the rest of your life. The doctor I work for, told me to let my kids get the chicken pox naturally. My pediatrist wasn't happy with my decision but respected it. I recently had to get titers, this is a blood test to check for anitbodies, and it showed that I am not immuned to measles or mumps. I got the shots like I was suppose to as a child, my mom swears I may have been doubled dosed. I will be getting a MMR and a booster shot shortly because my MMR expired.