Because I know that there are some scary smart people on here, I thought I'd post this and see if anyone knows anything.
My son Connor has a genetic syndrome (a chromosomal deletion). Up to this point, he's only had RSV Immunoglobulin once a month through RSV season (he has an airway deformity which put him at very very high risk of very serious complications from RSV) He did end up contracting RSV earlier this month despite the vaccines, but had a minor case of it thankfully.
Part of his syndrom is a Primary Immune Deficiency. His T-cell lymphocytes are chronically low due to an underdeveloped thymus gland. This kind of immune deficiency puts him at high risk of viral infections (a simple cold hits him HARD and takes him a long time to recover from). We've managed to keep him pretty darn healthy so far (through LOTS of proactive work from us!)
So, to the meat of my issue. He's being seen by an infectious disease specialist. A very nice dr, I feel comfortable he gives me a more complete picture than most drs. But he outright told me he's a believer in the vaccination program. Connor can not have any of the live virus vaccines because he would actually contract the illness the vaccine was designed to prevent. So that's a no brainer. But he stressed to me that he feels Connor really should get the bacterial vaccines.
Connor's immune tests show that he's perfectly capable of fighting off bacterial infections, and prior experience has proven that he can tolerate antibiotics in the Penicillin family. I pointed this out to the dr and told him that I felt pretty comfortable with our treatment options if Connor were to contract a bacterial infection. He agreed, but said that he's more worried about Connor contracting a secondary VIRAL infection and with his immune system in a weakened state from the bacterial infection, he'd have a much harder time fighting off the virus.
This is something I hadn't considered. I have scoured the literature available on his syndrome and find nothing about rates of vaccine reactions, so I can't compare rates of reactions per vaccine among kids of his syndrome. There is a high rate (much higher than the general population) of autism-like behaviors, learning disabilities, and psychiatric conditions in children and adults with his syndrome, but nothing breaks it out in the vaccinated and non-vaccinated group. Everything just states it as a common issue caused by the deletion. So I can't use that as a basis for any decision.
He had a pretty significant dairy sensitivity as a younger infant, so any vaccine containing casein was out of the question, but he's been able to tolerate me eating a good bit of dairy recently, so I think that within months he'll show little to no signs of it (although I haven't tried giving dairy directly to him yet). I really wanted to give him DTaP when he was younger because of his airway malformation, pertussis could have killed him, but I tried three different locations and couldn't find the one version of DTaP which didn't have casein. I figured it was a sign that I shouldn't give him the vaccine, so I stopped seeking it out.
So I'm stuck here. While I don't agree with mass-vaccination, I believe that vaccines have a place in the medical community, and my kid might just be one of those that truly could benefit from a few. But which ones? And when? And under what conditions? Because of his immune deficiency, find a few week time period where he's not sick is very difficult...normally I wouldn't think of vaccinating if he had, say, a runny nose...but with him finding him without some kind of illness is almost impossible. If I waited, he'd never get a vaccine, you know?
Thoughts? [polite thoughts and comments please, this journey with him from birth to diagnosis has been *painful* with so many decisions to be made...nothing is straight forward and easy as it is with "normal" children