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Never Vax'd, but starting Military Life - so conflicted!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I actually created an account just for this question, because I knew I needed feedback from like-minded mamas I have a 25month old daughter, who's never had any vaccinations. I was planning on giving her SOME, eventually, but it just didn't feel right while she was this little (personal choice... plus a little bit of wimping out...) However, my husband has recently joined the Air Force, and we'll be moving to be with him in the spring. We will definitely be going overseas at some point in his career (hopefully not now), and people living on base will be coming back and forth from constant overseas tours and assignments, exposing my daughter to much more in terms of "dead" diseases than the "typical" American child. I feel like I should her started on vax's and quickly. Agree? Disagree? Which to start with? I'm so overwhelmed - any input or advice at ALL would be wonderful!
post #2 of 27
Ack. I wouldn't give her all of them at once to catch up if I were you.
Your husband and the folks coming back from the countries with the VPD are presumably vaccinated (isn't the military really strict about vaxing servicepeople?) and therefore shouldn't likely be picking up any VPD to bring home to the kids. If it were me, I would possibly do TDaP, MMR, and IPV. It's a hard decision though, you're just going to have to research it.
Good luck.
post #3 of 27
My husband was active duty, and we didn't vax our DS. My husband didn't travel outside the states except for a deployment to Iraq. But we lived in DC for a while w/ a lot of people from all over the world that traveled home to see their families. Lots of ethnicity in the stores and malls. Plus my DH worked at Walter Reed where he had a lot of people coming in from all over the place.
post #4 of 27
I absolutely would start vaccinating if I was in your position. My DH isn't military, but he travels all of the time (domestically and internationally) and is one of the only Americans in his research group (he's a scientist). He flies regularly and so do we. He works at a university and encounters tons of germs. I can imagine that military life is similar with people always coming and going and being exposed to different germs. I would start with DTaP, then do MMR, and then get caught up with everything else. Good luck mama!
post #5 of 27
We did the DTaP only, but if I was just vaxing a child over 2, I might consider just doing the DT since Pertussis doesn't scare me so much beyond infancy. Unless you are concerned about Diphtheria, you can hold off on it a little longer if you like. Kids aren't at very much risk of tetanus until they're at least 4 or 5. If I were in your situation, your situation might tip the scale and convince me to get the IPV.

Unless your concern is herd immunity, I would definitely skip Hib and Prevnar. Those are usally only serious for babies, and your child is not a baby. I'd skip CP since it doesn't scare me, and I'd skip Rota. I don't think the flu vax is needed for healthy children.

The STD ones (Hep B and HPV), I don't think you need to make a decision about quite yet. It will be a while before she's likely to be sexually active.

That leaves the MMR. That's a tough decision. In my opinion, that is probably one of the vaccines with the most potential benefits and also the most potential risks. You really need to weigh the balance yourself. In the end, for me, the ethical concerns won out. I can't give my child a vaccine that was produced using killed preborn babies, as this vaccine was. Even with that, though, my religion acknowledges that using this vaccine may be warranted in some situations. You need to look at the risks of getting the diseases, the risks from the diseases, your own particular risk factors for complications, and your own conscience before making a decision. If you do get it, I would do it on a day that your child is in good health, and I would make it the only vaccine you do that day.
post #6 of 27
We're military, and we've always vaccinated.

My main concern would be a deployment to Afghanistan, where polio is endemic. The guys only get the IPV, which allows them in theory to transmit polio. Yeah, I know, the refrain is polio isn't that bad unless you get paralyzed, but I've been to Afghanistan and Pakistan and seen polio, and my impression was that it really was That Bad.

On the other hand, frankly, the fact that literally thousands of soldiers are on a direct flight daily from polio endemic areas straight to the U.S. and Western Europe doesn't seem to concern anyone else, and if you think about it, you won't be that much closer to the situation even in the military. I would more think your child would be likely to be exposed by being in a daycare situation with another military child of a less careful parent, than if your husband is meticulous about hygiene for a few weeks when he returns.

As HRJ mentions, it's not like you've not encountered people fresh off the boat from God-knows-where before. I came with my baby to the US twice before she had finished the polio series or had the MMR from a country where we now know polio is spreading.

Went straight to Target where I am sorry to say, she mouthed the cart handle.

I do want to say that as military, you will need to get the appropriate exemptions to use some of the childcare benefits you get from the military.
post #7 of 27
Keep in mind that depending on which state you are stationed in, you may not be able to vaccinate selectively. Some states that only have religious or medical exemptions, would make it difficult. Because in most states, religious vaccine exemptions have to be all or nothing, and if they find out that you vaccinated for polio but nothing else, they could reject your exemption and make you become up-to-date. Especially w/ moving around to states that you don't know the law to yet, that is something to consider. If you start vaxxing, you will have to finish vaxxing in some states (unless you are lucky enough to find a dr that would write a medical exemption for you).
post #8 of 27
HRJ, even if they homeschooled?
post #9 of 27
I went back and read the original post. I didn't see anything about them homeschooling. Am I blind? I'm confused. You don't need exemptions if you homeschool, but you would if you wanted to ever use the drop in day care and some dance classes and sports teams are requiring exemptions. I don't think the extracurricular activities people would think to look in a vaccine registry.
post #10 of 27
I live in Eastern Europe and travel frequently between here and the US, and we selectively vaccinate. It really is going to depend on your particular situation--exactly where you are living/being exposed to germs, what the sanitation situation is, what kind of diseases are prevalent in that area, how old your child is by then, and which vaccines are okay to skip and which are not. If I were you I would start looking into each vaccine and what it means for a child that is no longer an infant, getting advice on particular ones. Polio and tetanus scare me the most, but that's just me...
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post
I went back and read the original post. I didn't see anything about them homeschooling. Am I blind? I'm confused. You don't need exemptions if you homeschool, but you would if you wanted to ever use the drop in day care and some dance classes and sports teams are requiring exemptions. I don't think the extracurricular activities people would think to look in a vaccine registry.
Her child is too young but she might consider delaying until she decided whether or not to do public or on-post schools.

In Europe the military does check vaccines for every little thing. But you can get exemptions.
post #12 of 27
Hmm first off, only the active duty personnel is required to get shots. family is not, even if you go overseas. You do not have to do shots even for DoD schools, religious exemptions are accepted at all time (you might have to fight a little and point out regs, but the law is on your side).

We decided on very delayed and selective vaccines, and the military doesn't know about them. Because they are all or nothing, and I mean CDC schedule, not just your state's requirement. Which means a 12 year old girl needs to get Gardasil or you cannot come along overseas. It is crazy and I would never ever consider anything but an exemption since you have no choice in delaying or selecting if you vaccinate with the military.

It very much depends on the country you might be going down the road, so there is no need to jump the gun now. What if you are sent to Great Britain or Germany? Absolutely no need. the only thing you might consider is a single measles shot which is available in Europe cause there are large pockets of unvaccinated children if you are afraid of measles. And you can do that privately, out of pocket, nobody needs to know.

As for your DH being e.g. in Iraq - they do get screened and heavily looked at before they come back. There is no need to worry. He won't bring back anything that's contagious that isn't around here too VPD-wise. Especially since he is required to be up to date. And they check for MMR and chickenpox titers, not just vax records in the Air Force. So you will know for sure that he is immune.

Beware though that active duty gets a yearly Flumist shot at most bases. We avoid the issue by getting a single dose dead virus shot at the health department ($20) so DH doesn't shed. When I called around last week to track one down, the obgyns office got all frantic that they want to give Flumist to a husband of a pregnant woman. They literally freaked out and said HE** NO. But, as always, the shot clinic on base says whatever you get it or we kick you out. Not mentioning that you can get it off-base at any time though.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
He won't bring back anything that's contagious that isn't around here too VPD-wise. Especially since he is required to be up to date.
I asked the military and the soldiers do NOT get the oral polio vaccine. They only get the IPV, which does not prevent transmission. Nor does pertussis (though I doubt the soldier would be the main risk for that one), and I think there are others which do not prevent transmission.
post #14 of 27
But they all had OPV as kids, so no need for IPV. DH had OPV and that was sufficient for them, it's supposed to last a lifetime.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I asked the military and the soldiers do NOT get the oral polio vaccine. They only get the IPV, which does not prevent transmission. Nor does pertussis (though I doubt the soldier would be the main risk for that one), and I think there are others which do not prevent transmission.
I would honestly be more concerned about getting pertussis in the USA right now than DH bringing it home from overseas. We're in OH and both our family dr and pediatrician are seeing a lot of pertussis right now. And my pediatrician is seeing it in both vaccinated and unvaccinated kids.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by nia82 View Post
Hmm first off, only the active duty personnel is required to get shots. family is not, even if you go overseas. You do not have to do shots even for DoD schools, religious exemptions are accepted at all time (you might have to fight a little and point out regs, but the law is on your side).

We decided on very delayed and selective vaccines, and the military doesn't know about them. Because they are all or nothing, and I mean CDC schedule, not just your state's requirement. Which means a 12 year old girl needs to get Gardasil or you cannot come along overseas. It is crazy and I would never ever consider anything but an exemption since you have no choice in delaying or selecting if you vaccinate with the military.

It very much depends on the country you might be going down the road, so there is no need to jump the gun now. What if you are sent to Great Britain or Germany? Absolutely no need. the only thing you might consider is a single measles shot which is available in Europe cause there are large pockets of unvaccinated children if you are afraid of measles. And you can do that privately, out of pocket, nobody needs to know.

As for your DH being e.g. in Iraq - they do get screened and heavily looked at before they come back. There is no need to worry. He won't bring back anything that's contagious that isn't around here too VPD-wise. Especially since he is required to be up to date. And they check for MMR and chickenpox titers, not just vax records in the Air Force. So you will know for sure that he is immune.

Beware though that active duty gets a yearly Flumist shot at most bases. We avoid the issue by getting a single dose dead virus shot at the health department ($20) so DH doesn't shed. When I called around last week to track one down, the obgyns office got all frantic that they want to give Flumist to a husband of a pregnant woman. They literally freaked out and said HE** NO. But, as always, the shot clinic on base says whatever you get it or we kick you out. Not mentioning that you can get it off-base at any time though.
Just keep in mind that whenever you get a vaccine, it can be entered into a state registry, and schools can look this up unless you opt out. I would research whether military doctors are putting this in state databases or in a government databases. There are moms on these boards that tried to just get 1 or 2 shots and still use a religious exemption. Their school looked them up in a state registry and found out. The school called b*llsh*t on the parents for saying they had a religious problem w/ all vaccines and forced them to become up-to-date.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post
I would honestly be more concerned about getting pertussis in the USA right now than DH bringing it home from overseas. We're in OH and both our family dr and pediatrician are seeing a lot of pertussis right now.
Which is what I said. My point was to illustrate that there are a number of vaccines that do not prevent transmission.

Quote:
And my pediatrician is seeing it in both vaccinated and unvaccinated kids.
Sadly, though it's less likely, even a vaccinated child can catch it if it starts circulating heavily when herd immunity is weakened. Especially those babies who have not gotten the full series.
post #18 of 27
You've gotten some good responses so far and this is an entirely personal decision to make. You'll have to decide what is best for your family, child and situation. If you are going to selective/delayed vax though one thing to look at is the CDC catchup schedule here:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/sch...chedule_pr.pdf

Look it over. Waiting to vax means you can have less vaccinations and less doses and still be considered "up to date." Not ideal but can at least lower the vax your child does get. This may at least be easier to handle.
post #19 of 27
Your husband joined the USAF, not your daughter. She does not need to get any vaccinations that you do not want her to have. Use your philosophical or religious exemption.
post #20 of 27
@ HRJ: that is why you don't do shots on base. And then you opt out of the registry, and possibly do it in another state with more lenient laws. It's worth driving 4 hours to do this. Or in our case, we haven't started yet, I cannot get myself to do it just yet, but one shot I want is measles only. We get this in Europe only anyways, so how will the US government ever know?!
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