I chose to vax my first child on schedule. We traveled to India and I saw first-hand the effects of polio which is still active there. It was very heartbreaking.
My second child had some major health issues that lasted 5 years. I chose to delay her vaccinations and saved them for windows where she was healthy. I did this so that they would not stress her body during times of illness, and so that they would actually take, which a lot of immuno-compromised kids have a problem with.
I know that vaccinations carry a certain risk. I also know first-hand as a peds nurse in an ICU setting what pertussis is, and how it can affect a baby for life if the infection is bad enough. It is so hard for me to watch these babies cough until they can't breathe, and it's harder for their parents. I have seen some other very, very serious illnesses in non-vax patients that there were vaccines available for. I have seen kids spend weeks in the ICU because of them and waste away and have chest tubes, breathing tubes, and lots of pain. That experience impacts them for life.
On the other hand I know a mom whose son (not a patient of mine, a real-life friend) had such a bad reaction that he's now wheelchair bound and neurologically impaired. In 24 hours he went from a toddler just learning to walk, to a severely disabled child. They won a settlement against the vaccine company to cover expenses for his life care.
Of course most of the time you get sick, you get better, you get immunity. But just like there are those kids who react to vaccines, there are also kids and adults who die or are damaged because they didn't get vaccinated.
Either choice you make has risk involved. I just have personally seen the worst-case scenarios over and over again in the non-vax kids enough times to be convinced the odds are more in the favor of vaccines than against them.
Five infant deaths in the UK this year due to pertussis
Story about a 2 month old who died
Edited by USAmma - 8/27/12 at 10:52am