MMR Question.

Updated on February 01, 2011
R.S. asks from Portsmouth, VA
18 answers

First I know the "study" about the supposed link between autism and MMR has been "officially debunked." Second, I got the MMR vaccine when I was pregnant and didn't know it. My son has never had a serious health problem since he was born. But now I know the doctor will be pushing for his shots, I got to thinking about this issue again. My question is: If it's not true that vaccines cause autism, then what happened to those children who got sick immediately (or shortly) after getting the MMR shot? I'd post a link here but I don't think it's allowed. I mean running a fever, getting sick, and steadily deteriorating motor skills / interaction with parents. Is it just coincidence or something else?

By the way, we plan to homeschool our kids. I don't think this is a reason to not vaccinate. But I do want to delay them - spread them out. Any opinion on when might be the best time to have chicken pox and then MMR shots?

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So What Happened?

Update: Went for the 12-month visit and got the chickenpox vaccine. We decided to put off the MMR and get it later. Baby is okay several days after the shot.

Thanks to all who've replied so far. Yes, I read Dr. Sears' book and my son's pediatrician really sneered at it. I tried following his schedule but the clinic said they get their shots from the state government. They don't have it in separate doses like Sears recommends. But we were still able to spread them for the first year. We insisted on it and also sometimes one vaccine was out of stock. We spread them out about a month or two. And we didn't get him Hep B at birth but later.

Result so far: No irritation, no tiredness, fever, etc. The ONE time he did was the one time we agreed to get his due shots at 2 months plus the "catch up" Hep B shot. Since then we split the shots to one or two at a time, roughly similar to the Sears schedule but we had to make do with the combo shots like DTaP.

I would like to spread out the shots for MMR and chicken pox but I read tat Merck refused to make split MMR's anymore.

Yes, I read about people who SWEAR their toddlers were walking, talking, etc. then got the MMR and it all changed. So I wanted to ask.

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answers from Tampa on

I truly think autism is triggered by a compounded genetic issue with an immune/environmental trigger response.

I feel those children would have gotten it anyways - like with their first illness, or bout with toxicity of some sort of pollution which they'd be ore sensitive to... It's been proven in a huge study that boys are more biologically sensitive to the environmental/toy/plastics pollution than girls are and most autism cases are males.

Delay of you want, but not by months, maybe weeks.

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answers from Rochester on

I felt better spreading them out too... between 18 and 19 months both my girls got their shots and we haven't had any problems. I think it is responsible to get these vaccinations but do it the way you feel is best.

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answers from Chicago on

Either you believe that there has been NO scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccination to Autism (meaning, the scientific method has been used to control all variables, so to identify a statistic correlation)...or you don't. Anything in between (i.e., "Well..there's just so much talk about it, that there *must* be something to it!!!") has nothing to do with logic or reason.

I am the Mom of a child on the Autism Spectrum. I know there is absolutely no study that proves (or even suggests) a link between Autism and vaccines. I urge all posters who say "there are a few studies that talk about a possible link" to specifically post a link to those studies. Or send me the link via IM. I would be happy to read it myself.

There are possible side effects to ALL vaccines (redness at injection point, possible fevers, etc.). However, there is nothing that scientifically/statistically links "steadily deteriorating motor skills/interaction with parents" to a vaccine. I wonder if you are confusing the fact that the major signs of autism are, often, not recognized until 12-15months of age...about the same time the MMR is given.

A "link" requires a correlation. Correlation is a statistic -- a mathematical calculation. A correlation cannot be "guessed" or "assumed." If the mathmatical calculation does not work...there is no correlation. In addition, it can't "seem" like there is a correlation/link because you've read 10 Moms talk about how they just KNOW it...or you've heard it from a friend of a friend. This is math. It has nothing to do with the government's agenda or a conspiracy amongst the evil pharmaceutical companies. You cannot manipulate a math formula.

Just as another "fun fact," there are four well-known scientific studies, published between 2000 and 2004 with the results, "Administering the vaccines in three separate doses does not reduce the chance of adverse effects, and it increases the opportunity for infection by the two diseases not immunized against first."

In respond to all the posters who are going to say, "Well...maybe the MMR doesn't cause Autism, but there's just too many vaccines we give our children now vs. when we were kids." I respond: the MMR was one of those "few" vaccines given since 1970s. Meaning, most of today's Moms have had the MMR!

Comments such as "Give it will be proven." hold about as much credibility as the fortune teller at the local fair.

I sincerely wish you, and your child, the best of luck with your decision.

EDIT: I randomly selected a few of the links provided by Tat2edmomma. One link presents a study (without the methodology) suggesting a link between measles to infammatory bowel disorder -- no mention of vaccinations whatsoever. One link is an essay attempting to refute (without any reserach) a Japanese study that indicated no link between MMR vaccine and Autism -- and was written by a guy named Yazback who is a well-known croney of Wakefeld. I stopped at that point -- no need to go on.

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answers from St. Cloud on

Each family can only truly decide this for themselves. It sounds like you've done some research. CONTINUE! You will find enough on both sides of the issue. Both disputing the other sides motives, information, and logic. But in the end, you have to make a decision that you and your husband can live with.

But be prepared if your doctor is VERY pro-vaccine. Our doctor gave me a very mean spirited push "talk" at her 2 month check because we decided to forgo the vaccines at least for the time being. We ended up switching clinics all together because he was so rude.

If you want to delay, go ahead. Read Dr. Sears book about vaccination and his suggested alternative schedule.

+In our opinion, there must be *SOME* connection in those cases that see a decline shortly after vaccination. People can claim there isn't but if it was their child, I think they would see things differently......

Edited to add: The school situation is not an issue. All you have to do is have a notarized signature saying that you are not vaccinating and your children COULD attend public school with NO, some, or all the shots.

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answers from Redding on

I am surprised at how many parents are afraid to vaccinate these days.
No offense.
I come from an entire generation of vaccinated children and there is no autism in any of us. Including our children. And grandchildren.
I come from a pretty HUGE family.
I had an aunt who lived her life crippled by polio before the vaccines were available.
There was no question that we would vaccinate our children to keep that from happening.

I agree that it's a personal decision and if parents choose not to vaccinate, it's their own thing.
I am glad to know that my children who were vaccinated were protected.
If you choose not to protect your children through immunizations, you can't count on the children who were vaccinated to protect your kids.
These days, there are plenty enough who aren't vaccinated to spread things amongs yourselves.
Whooping cough, for instance, has made a real come back.

I see that one mom mentioned the chicken pox vaccine.
It came out after both of my kids had chicken pox.
I had chicken pox as a child and have been hospitalized numerous times for "shingles". It's caused by the chicken pox virus.
It's too late for me to be vaccinated, but I'm getting my son a booster shot.
He will gladly roll up his sleeve because if it can save him from what I've been through, it's worth it to him.

When you see someone suffer because they didn't have the vaccine and you weigh the risks of getting's a completely personal decision.
I've never been sorry I immunized my kids.

Best wishes.

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answers from Bellingham on

Well....first of all, the "MMR/Autism Study" that was "debunked"...was not. It was attacked by a journalist who has worked for the vaccine industry before, which in turn caused it to be removed by the paper that published it. The parents of the children studied do not believe by any means that it was a "fraud". It was thrown out on technicality. Here's a link to a site that explains what happened. (for real)
Here's a video of Brian Deer, the journalist, and it explains more about the Dr. Wakefield, Autism/MMR controversy.
But even if you disregard this study, there are many more who support the same idea. HERE ARE THE LINKS FOR SOME....
There have been MULTIPLE studies possibly linking MMR, mercury, and vaccines to Autism!!! Dr. Wakefield did ONE OF MANY. I can't send you them all right now, but....*These are links I used when deciding whether or not to vaccinate my child, they may not all pertain to MMR specifically. They are, however credible, and most are trusted medical journals, including the Lancet. name just a few.
Also....Autism is probably 15-20% of why I selectively vaccinate on a delayed schedule....It's really a small piece of a much bigger picture. Some of the serious listed side effects of vaccines are Guillan-Barre Syndrome, swelling/inflammation of the brain, brain damage, seizures, nerve dysfunction, heart inflammation, intussusception, arthritis, bleeding disorders, severe allergic reactions, and MUCH more. There are also many possible long term effects which have never been studied, but there may be a link to MS, Alzheimer, adhd, and other mental disorders.
I suggest the vaccine book by Dr. Sears. It really helps explain vaccines, and gives you a sample alternative schedule to follow. I HIGHLY suggest you read it. It's not too expensive online, and worth every penny. It gives you a lot of great info organized in a very easy to understand way.We are doing MMR at 2, or later. Approximately 1 in 1000 cases of measles is life threatening. It isn't very common, There are about 50-100 cases in the US reported each year. Mumps is not very common, only 250 cases each year. There are occasional outbreaks. It is not serious for kids, and only causes issues in teen/adulthood. I will vaccinate my child before he's a teen.
Rubella is very rare and mild. The only time it is serious is in pregnancy, when it can cause birth defects. My DS is never around pregnant women, and I don't plan on having another baby soon. He will be vaccinated before school. We also vaccinate only 1 aluminum-containing vaccine at a time, and only 2 vaxs at a time. Plus we boost his immune system w/ probiotics and supplements pre and post vax.

Also, there is a vaccine injury fund that the government runs. It pays out money to people who have been "injured" by vaccines. It is called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or VICP. If vaccines were perfectly safe, why does the government pay thousands to vaccine injured kids?

"Karen" can say whatever she wants. I believe what I believe based on countless HOURS of research and reading. You believe what you want, I will believe what I want. I will not argue on mommy websites, it's stupid and immature.

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answers from Seattle on

Tat2edmomma is incorrect. Completely and utterly incorrect. There will continue to be parents, however, who WANT to believe whatever they believe, contrary to the evidence.

A journalist was not the cause of Wakefields problems. His methods, results, and cheating were. The other doctors who worked on the study retracted their support of the conclusions. The doctor (Wakefield) has lost his license to practice in the UK. And another study has debunked the findings of the first study, that was already retracted from the Lancet. The Lancet, by the way, is a very distinguished and highly regarded medical journal. So, you may choose not to believe that the study is completely, utterly, and totally factually incorrect, but you would be working totally on faith and not on facts. And, by the way, Wakefield was trying to market his own, alternative vaccine when he wrote the original paper.

To the original post, there are no scientifically-based studies, none whatsoever, that show a link between MMR and autism. That said, no reputable doctor would claim that there are no risks related to vaccines. There are some risks and some conditions that indicate some should not be vaccinated. Most of the risks are incredibly rare and the risk of not getting vaccinated is greater.

If you are interested in an informed and compassionate discussion of this topic, please read the seattlemamadoc blog. You can google seattlemamadoc for the link. She is a mama and a pediatrician who started a blog/online dialog about vaccinations, Wakefield, why parents choose to believe what they do, how to have compassionate and informative discussions with parents,etc. No matter what side of the issue you are on, this is a blog worth checking out.

If you're still concerned, I would suggest going for an alternative schedule. There is no _evidence_ to suggest that this is necessary, but if it soothes your worries and gets you to have your kiddos vaccinated fully but just a little late, then what the heck.

Good luck to you.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

It turns out most of the kids in the original study did not get sick, their medical records did not match what the author published - much of the 'data' was outright fabricated. The time frame of some of the other medical records showed signs started prior to vaccination.

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answers from Anchorage on

There are no cases of autism caused by a shot. Some people claim there kids stopped talking, but relearned, which I think is BS personally. I am so done with this issue because the debates have gotten to the point of ridiculous. If someone does not want to get their kids the MMR, than don't, but do not blame anyone but yourself if your kids gets sick, dies, or kills someone else if/when they get exposed to measles (which has made a major comeback due to the number of folks that have decided not to vaccinate). I am just thankful that my boys are now old enough to have gotten all their vaccines, and thus to be fully protected.

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answers from New York on

There will be a link found. Give it a decade or so. My suggestion is don't give chicken pox vaccine at all, and wait until child turns 4 to give MMR.

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answers from St. Louis on

There is a difference between correlation (two things relating to each other) and causation (one thing causes another). For example, when there are larger amounts of storks in an area, there are usually an increase in births. However, we all know that a stork being present doesn't suddenly "increase fertility" or cause babies to be born. Storks and babies have a strong correlation (their rates seem to coincide), but one does not cause the other. It's the same thing with the MMR shot and autism. The reason those kids showed signs soon after getting the shots is because autism signs tend to become noticeable at the same time that the shot is administered. They are related through timing, but the MMR shot did not cause the symptoms. Many kids who are not vaccinated have displayed similar symptoms around this time frame as well. Also, as far as the research study that was debunked, there is a large amount of evidence that he not only completed a poor study (i.e. low sample size, not generalizable to the population, not to mention a slew of ethical dilemas in who he was receiving money from or the purpose for completing the study), but he also falsified his results to get the results he wanted, which is part of the reason he is under so much scrutiny right now and lost his license. So yes, in answer to your question, the MMR/autism thing is a "coincidence" to put it best as there is no causation that can be proved (and in the replicated cases they are not finding a correlation as there is no significant difference between kids who get the shots and kids who do not in relation to their autism rates). AlsoThere is no determined cause of autism at the moment, it was just easy to connect it to MMR because of the timing variable.

Also, no vaccines today are made or cultured from aborted fetal tissue.

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answers from Seattle on

We have had a couple really good peds if you're into switching! Let me know. I think it's more ignorant to do "what everyone else does or says you should". We all need to do our own research and find what's best for our family, educate and support each other. I think most people wait for mmr until age three. I've heard of children with the cp vaccine getting it anyway and getting shingles at a very early age.

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answers from Dover on

As for what happened...the autistic symptoms you mentioned are ones that can appear and be diagnosed at around the same time as when most kids get the MMR shot. Meaning, both occur at the same time but do not mean that they are related. Also, some may be predisposed to a variety of conditions and can have a reaction to any number of vaccines that make the condition "appear" but did not "cause" it.

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answers from San Francisco on

I went ahead with my third daughter and spread the vaccines out. I didn't follow any specific schedule, I just wanted one given at a time so that if she had a reaction I could tell which shot gave her it.

The unintended outcome of this decision was that she is never upset or cries during the shots. She has never had any reaction. The only negative reaction was out of her doctor who thought I was being silly. I found a different doctor who kept her mouth shut on the issue.

The school situation is not relevent because children just need to be current by the time they are five and entering Kindergarten unless you they go to preschool and then they need to be current at that age.

Good luck!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

HI RJ, I want to encourage you to keep researching before you decide to give any vaccinations. Did you know that many (including MMR and Chicken Pox) vaccines are made using aborted babies? Let me know if you want links or more info.

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answers from Detroit on

I found The Vaccine Book by Sears to be very informative, easy to read and neither for, nor against vaccines... I would strongly suggest reading this book/resource and then make an informed decision that works for you and your family!

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answers from Seattle on

Well... MOST kids have an immune response (a good thing) when they get vax'd. (The immune system working is what creates the symptoms of tiredness, lack of appetite, aching joints, etc. For more info / a down and dirty explination of the immune response here's a link to a flu post I did not long ago. )

MY SUSPICION as to the rest is this:

- Actual Autism / 2 is the normal age for most milder and HFA forms to be diagnosed
- Terrible Twos
- Natural Regression being part of the normal developmental process
- Self Fulfilling Prophesy

Starting Backwards...

SFP isn't a totally accurate description... but it's the fastest way I can think to describe people seeing what they want to. For example: My step aunt is absolutely convinced that MILK caused my cousin's autism. No amount of science will convince her otherwise. My cousin IS allergic to milk. So he had a nasty couple of weeks which meant a LOT of doctor's visits, during which time he was finally diagnosed with autism. I say FINALLY, because the day he was born he "mewed"... which is a red flag for autism. But despite the rest of the (medically trained) family getting wide eyed with that... to her, it was "cute" and "just him". Many many other warning signs presented over the months that followed. But she just didn't/couldn't see them. (My 30yo cousin never progressed beyond the age of 2 mentally, and in some ways physically -for example, he's never been able to be potty trained- and it took him 7 years to get to that stage despite tremendous care). My aunt was *completely* blind to all of the signs of autism that presented from day one. So in HER mind (seeing what she wants to see) milk caused his autism, because that's when it was diagnosed... not the facts, that the extended care / exposure to medical professionals during his milk allergy allowed his autism to finally be diagnosed.

Natural Regression: Kids don't develop in straight lines, as most parents come to learn. Instead they develop in leaps and bounds. Most parents are so in awe of the amazing progress their children are making / understand the limits of a human brain... that the fact that children ALWAYS regress when
- working on a new area (large motor, fine motor, cognitive)
- when they're ill
doesn't bother them at all. They see it for the natural process that it is. Some parents though, wig that their child who was running all over has STOPPED running and instead is sitting and coloring (large motor to fine motor), or who was talking up a storm has quit talking half as much or more and started running all over the house at mach 2 (fine motor -lips, tongue, breath control + cognitive to large motor). Ditto, it's VERY normal for kids to need a few weeks of snuggles / to regress in their milestones for several days to several weeks after being sick (it's usually a nervous system thing, young children don't have total control over their nervous system, under stress it goes back under autonomic control, instead of conscious control... so they start having accidents, want to use a bottle instead of a cup, etc... aka either it's been yanked back, or they drop back a milestone or two to what's "comforting" while they recoup.

Vax's cause an immune response. Most kids are just a little tired and cranky for a few hours. For some, it lasts for several days. Not because they're sick, but because their immune systems go into overdrive. Even parents who understand the natural regression that happens when they're actually sick can get quite frightened at the natural regression from the immune response. It's *natural*, the same thing kids do when they get colds. They come out of it just like they do with colds.

So some kids get a couple weeks of natural regression from the immune response. OTHERS just happen to be trading in one developmental stage for another. I've known HUNDREDS of parents convinced that the 2yo shots had harmed their child -for a few weeks or a few months- then, a few months later their kids had finished the developmental stage they had switched to and the walking/talking/whatever thing they had dropped for the new developmental stage has another "growth explosion" and they totally forget how worried they were.
Terrible Twos is a totally natural (and needed) developmental phase where kids pull away from parents (independence seeking). Like all milestones, it has a bit of a range (we had the terrible 3's at our house). Despite this being the BEST known of milestones I am still ABSOLUTELY FLOORED at the number of parents who have NO CLUE either about it at all, or some kind of delusion that with "good" parenting it would never happen with THEIR child. These same parents FREAK out when their children start doing cognitve emotional integration and independence seeking. Some, for the entire year that it typically lasts. Often causing quite a few problems in insisting on treating their child EITHER like an infant who only has needs, or like an adult with adult understanding. Not most by any means, but definitely a good percentage of parents I've known in certain areas (seattle and parts of so. cal. in particular have a really high percentage rate) who claim that this NORMAL AND WANTED developmental stage is caused either by
- immunizations
- a non-organic diet
((In certain other parts of the country I've seen it blamed on "possession" / "the devil" in the apx same percentage as those who blame it on immunizations or diet... aka the percentage of people who HAVE to have an outside source to "blame" it on))

A rather large percentage of parents who don't understand the terrible 2's also mistake it for autism OR vax injury. ((My neighbors, for example, took their son to over 30 autism specialists when he was 3, convinced he had autism because he 'quit listening, screaming for no reason, hit his head on the floor/wall/etc, got picky about his food' etc. He's a perfectly normal 10yo now. He was just going through the terrible 2's... but my neighbors don't "believe" in them. The dad is actually all puff chested about how they "cured" his autism with diet. <rolls eyes> The kid was a perfectly normal toddler, who "behaved" for most of his caregivers to the extent that a toddler CAN behave. But he's been "cured" by diet ;)


Actual Autsim

In the "autism world" my cousin (the one my aunt thinks milk made autistic) was diagnosed fairly early at a little over a year. One reason sooooooooo many kids are diagnosed at age 2 is that at that point the "deadline" for a lot of milestones has firmly passed. SPEAKING, for example the normal range is 9-18mo. Kids who are *perfectly normal* can be "late" in talking coming in at 19-23 months (or even later)... but it's a bell curve. It is VERY VERY rare for a child not to be speaking AT ALL, by age 2... 6 whole months late. Even bilingual and multilingual kids usually have at least a dozen or more words at this point, and many have quite a bit more. Walking is another milestone that if they aren't doing it by age 2... is a major concern. DITTO, by age 2 most kids have been walking long enough for *pecularities* in their walking to show up (most kids walk strangely when they first learn, those who continue to lurch about or only walk on part of their feet after 6-12mo of practice are concerning for *many* things (as are all of the previously mentioned things... deaf children, for example, aren't talking at age 2, and children with inner ear problems often lurch about or walk very "precisely" -like toe walking-)

Point being... at age 2... it's possible to diagnose milder forms of autism that would be considered "wait and see". In my experience about half the children born have "wait and see" issues (it may well be higher in reality, but in my observation the rough estimate is half ). Obviously, half the children born aren't autistic. Most children are completely typical, a large percentage have some sort of developmental issue that is completely and totally unrealted to autism (sensory processing, speech delays, hearing problems, vision problems, etc.).

SO at age 2 a lot of children are diagnosed that had been on the 'wait and see' list. Kids don't "suddenly" develop symptoms not meeting milestones. They had not been meeting milestones for months. It's just deadline time at around age 2. ((CAVEAT... one of the scarier forms of autism is 'regression autism' where kids who had previously BEEN meeting all of their milestones start regressing and regressing and regressing. Autism itself is fairly rare. Regression Autism is even rarer. (Sort of like how early onset alzeheimers is a rarer form of alzeheimers - MOST people, even those who will get Az later in life just do NOT get it at age 30ish). Regression Autism happens in kids in 3rd world countries who don't get immunizations. It just happens. Someday we may know why/how. It may or MAY NOT be environmental. )) Far more common than regression autism, however, is the deadlines being past long enough to start warranting a lot of testing to determine cause.

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answers from Miami on

I've always delayed the MMR and the chicken pox vaccine. I'm not worried about the so called autism scare. If God wants my children to have autism, they will have autism because He is in control anyway. The reason I have delayed the MMR is because it's a "big" vaccine. I remember when I allowed my first born to get the MMR right on schedule, she was cranky, irritable, had a fever and I just decided to let my other children have it a little later as well.

As for the chicken pox vaccine, honestly, I was totally opposed to the chicken pox vaccine so much so that I got a religious exemption for it. I felt that I, as a mother, needed to really investigate this vaccine since I had heard from so many parents' claims that their children got chicken pox even with the vaccine. I thought, "Why give my child a vaccine to prevent something that really doesn't prevent anything at all??" So, I researched it and found that the vaccine had been used in China (I believe this is correct) for many years before it was introduced to the U.S. The rate of chicken pox in Asia has significantly decreased because of the vaccine. It wasn't that I never wanted them to have chicken pox, as I would have preferred that they get it naturally anyway, but I was concerned about shingles. Once you get chicken pox, you can get shingles....and you can get chicken pox from shingles as well because that is how I caught chicken pox when I was in my 20's. My husband had shingles and I knew I never wanted my children to have shingles but if I could prevent them from getting it at all, then the vaccine was the only way. So, I gave in and allowed all of my children to be vaccinated for the chicken pox vaccine BUT I delayed it as well because I felt that with age, perhaps, their bodies would be better at letting the vaccine work the way it's supposed to. Whether or not my reasoning is true, I don't know, but that is how I handled the MMR and chicken pox vaccine.

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