I believe in selected, delayed vaccinating. With Ian and James, we had to delay their vaccinations because of their seizures and ill health during their first year, but we had planned on delaying them anyway. I do believe, though, that some vaccines are important...when the potential damage done by the potential virus/disease is greater than the potential damage done by the vaccine, them I'm okay with giving them to my kids. That's just my position, though.
Before the boys were born, I read the book _What your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations_ by Dr. Stephanie Cave. She suggests selective, "as few as possible" vaccinating, and at older ages than the CDC's suggested vac. schedule. This was the schedule she suggests for full vaccination (though she discusses each disease/vaccine in detail so parents can decide which ones they do and don't want their child to have):
ALL VACCINES SHOULD BE MERCURY/THIMEROSAL FREE
Hib -first series
IPV -first series
DTaP -first series
Hib -second series
IPV -second series
DTaP -second series
Hib -third series
DTaP -third series
Begin MMR, but separate the vaccine into three parts--
Measles vaccine first
Hib -fourth series
IPV -third series
DTaP -fourth series
Two and a half years:
Three and a half years:
School or Daycare age:
DT-four to five years of age (no Pertussis vaccine)
IPV- four to five years of age
MMR - four to five years of age
In the end, we had to delay even more than the schedule above, so our Doctor was GREAT about knowing the effectiveness of vaccines and which ones didn't need repeating.... for example, with some vaccines, the boys got it so late that they didn't need two or three doses, they just needed the one. So far, at age 4, we haven't given them Prevnar, Varicella, or Hep B vac. at all. We're waiting 'til school age for the Varicella (we'd rather they not develop Chicken Pox, due to their epilepsy) and Hep B.
Also, and I say this gently
, I think we need to be careful about not villianizing doctors and nurses as if they all have the same motivations or intentions. Our ped, for example, who is not known as being any sort of liberal doc, is very sure not to use thimerosal vaccines when an alternative is available (and these days, most vaccines do have an alternative). Our boys have never had a thimerosal vaccine. He was also very willing to use a delayed vac. schedule.
With this babe, we intend to follow more closely the schedule above. We're starting the adoption process for a fourth child, and part of the homestudy is a look at the medical records. Since adopting countries are very keen on making sure their kids are going to parents who agree to vaccinate, we want to make sure to have a good record. Also, since we'll be adopting from Asia, we plan on having all our kids vaccinated for Hep B before the adopted baby arrives. Hep B is MUCH more common in Asia, and often you don't know if your adopted baby has been exposed or not.
Other info from the Dr. Cave book:
Actions parents can take:
1. Be informed, learn all the benefits/risks of the vaccine you are considering. Get information from your Dr, but also from books and internet sites devoted to vaccine safety, reactions, parent watch groups, etc. Know your state's laws about school entrance requirements and exemptions.
2. Ask for thimerosal-free vaccines
3. Illness weakens the immune system, so do not vaccinate when a child has even a mild illness. Wait til they have recovered.
4. Do not allow your child to receive vaccines for six or more organisms in a day (ex: DTaP is one shot, but three organisms)
5. Request the MMR vaccine as individual vaccines (Measles separate from Mumps, separate from Rubella)
6. Monitor your child for adverse reactions and REPORT them if they do occur.
7. Do not allow your child to receive a vaccine with ingredients they might be allergic to (some have yeast, eggs, and neomycin)
8. Consider delaying Hep B until your children are older than 4 years, unless they are in daycare.
9. Consider delaying the varicella vac. until your children are 4 or 5 if they don't have immunity to it on their own by then.
10. If possible, check the MMR vaccine titers (antibody levels) before your child is due for the MMR booster at 4 to 5 years of age. If the levels are high enough, you can go without the booster. Retest levels at 12 years.
Hope that helps!!