Hi Dr. Sears,
It's great to see you on this site!
We have an almost 3 year old and are expecting twins this summer. With my 3 year old we have pretty much followed your Alternative Vaccine Schedule, except we have not done Hep B, Hep A, Chicken Pox, and MMR.
We are planning to travel overseas in the fall/winter to Lebanon for about three months. Before leaving the U.S. I may only have time to get the twins Dtap and Rotovirus vaccines. Though available, my husband prefers we get them no vaccines while in Lebanon. Is this risky as far as the travel is concerned?
For my 3 year old, I'm concerned with the travel part and the staying in Lebanon part. Our travel will consist of a layover in Paris, France which I am not excited about due to the media frenzie about France currently having the highest number of measles cases in Europe. I've read up on Lebanon and it seems that measles cases are low there, but stilll exist.
I think I've read too much and have really scared myself about the MMR. On this site, tons of moms go on about how the MMR possible side effects are risky at any age received. My question is, what is more likely, a complication from the vaccine or from the actual disease?
Thank God my 3 year old has done well with vaccines she has received, but getting her the MMR in particular is terrifying me, and I don't know what to do?
Should I also consider getting her the Hep A vaccine before travelling?
I don't consider a layover in a Paris airport as enough risk of measles to get the MMR vaccine if you otherwise wouldn't have. 3 months in Lebanon isn't much risk either. I don't usually consider travel to be a big enough reason to vaccinate if you otherwise weren't planning to. Hep A isn't necessary since it's such a mild disease in children. As for the babies only getting DTaP and Rota before travel (I assume only ONE dose?), that wouldn't be much protection yet, but I don't consider those diseases any more risk than your life here.
It's hard to say what's more likely, MMR complication or measles.
Thanks Dr. Sears, I appreciate your reply. Yes, we'll only have time to get the twins one dose before travelling. I'm hoping to be able to breastfeed though, so would that help immunity wise for the trip?
Also, I noticed on your website that you recommended doing the MMR at age 4 (since getting it separately is no longer available). As far as side effects are concerned, is it less risky to get it at this age? I'm just asking since some seem to believe it's equally as risky at any age?
Yes, breastfeeding will help.
The side effects of MMR are about equal across the various age groups, although autoimmune reactions, especially arthritis, increase after puberty. So, no difference between reactions at 1 year versus 4 years. My main reason for four years is for parents who are worried about the MMR and autism, they can wait until 4 years to avoid that worry.