I have had several friends over the years ask me what I've chosen to do regarding vaccinations with my boys. I've typed up long emails so many times and it came up again this week with another friend. I decided rather than re-writing it every time, I'd just blog about it so that I can refer them here.
Let me preface this by saying I'm certainly no expert on the matter! But I do read a lot and the more I read, the more confident I am in my decision.
Here's what I do: I don't start any vaccinations until 6 months old. And at that point, I start them one at a time, and just a select few. So basically at every doctor's appointment starting at 6 mos, they get one shot. The ones I've chosen to accept are the HiB and the DTaP (Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis). The DTaP was only available through my pediatrician as a combined vaccine called Pediarix that also covered Polio and HepB so they've been vaccinated against those as well, by default. Some things I've read suggest waiting until age 2 to vaccinate. I felt comfortable starting at 6 months, having robust, healthy boys. Its all about your comfort level. And never vaccinate when your child's immune system is compromised in any way(although, I'm pretty sure even most doctors would tell you that).
I chose those two vaccines based on the information in this book: The Parents' Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations. Although I've read plenty of articles and information online, that's the only published book I've read on them. I ended up buying it (but have since lent it out so many times I'm not sure where it ended up). I highly recommend it because of it's clear, concise (hence the title), user friendly and non-biased information. Its written by a doctor who gives the pros and cons to every vaccine required. Its just factual. She's not trying to sway you one way or the other. But after reading it, and lots of other things, my personal opinion that I feel strongly about is that so many vaccines are unnecessary. The medical field is a multi-billion dollar industry and its so hard to believe a lot of things you hear when money-making is at the root of it, rather than the health and well being of our children. Have you heard more about Shingles lately and seen commercials for a new vaccination for adults to prevent it? Did you know that when your children have chicken pox and you're around them, it reduces your risk of contracting Shingles as an adult? So vaccinate kids against chicken pox= outbreak of Shingles in adults= make a new vaccine for Shingles= $$$. That's just one example I've come across that's maddening to me.
If you want more information to make informed decisions, I highly recommend signing up for Dr. Mercola's e-newsletter or just exploring his web site. Here's another good web site that shows the amount of vaccines in 1983 vs. 2012.
I chose to delay vaccines and spread them out because of the high risk of autism in boys (1 in 54 boys). And weather its proven to be related or not, I'd really rather not take the chance. I also have a cousin-in-law who's son, Blake, has Alopecia (an auto-immune disorder resulting in total or partial hair loss). She told me once that she remembers his hair started falling out exactly two weeks after a dose of vaccines when he was a baby. I'd much rather be safe than sorry. And for that same reason, I chose the vaccines that could help prevent some potentially life-threatening illnesses in my kids.
One other thing I'd like to mention on here, please remember that these are your child and the decision is completely up to you. Don't be suckered in by some bully nurse who tells you you have to do it. You don't have to. And you don't owe them any excuses or explanations. And if you're being persuaded in a way that makes you uncomfortable, find another doctor. We were with a pediatrician for a while who was totally fine with whatever I chose. The nurse, however, made me feel guilty and uncomfortable for a while about it. I stuck to my guns and eventually she got over it and wasn't cold to me. But then recently the pediatrician left the practice and we were forced to find another one. I'm glad she did. I like our new one even better. It can be extremely hard to find a pediatrician who will let you choose the vaccine schedule, but not impossible. Its worth a little drive if you find one.
And lastly, I used to be worried about when it was time for my kids to go to school. I didn't think I'd be able to claim religious exemption if I'd chosen to do some but not all. It turned out to be absolutely no big deal at all. I spoke to a nurse on the phone and she assured me it was fine. Print out the form, get it notarized, include it with their medical stuff, no questions asked. Seriously, nothing to worry about! And regarding the slight guilt I felt over claiming religious reasons to not vaccinate, my mother-in-law told me that its not lying when God put you in charge of your children; to keep them safe and make the best decisions you know how to make for them! So there's nothing wrong with that!
Please know, I am not in any way judging anyone else's decisions! I just wanted to share what I've chosen to do in hopes that other people will realize it ultimately is your decision.