Except for my oldest daughter, none of our children have ever received any vaccinations. (I think my daughter just got whatever they give at the first appointment -- I'm not sure because I wasn't her mom yet, then, but I can find out of course.) My general feeling has always been that it's best not to meddle with our bodies, and that we shouldn't take any medication unless there is a compelling reason to do so. (My bar is not *very* high -- I personally choose not to take pain medication if pain is manageable, but I have no problem giving my child Tylenol for a headache, etc.) So far, I have no seen any compelling reason to give vaccinations -- I don't see the potential benefits as outweighing the potential risks.
Well, today my husband called and asked me to research what vaccines are typically given to preteens (which would be our oldest two children). He's been thinking and doing some research that suggests that there is less risk from the vaccines at this age, and he thinks that, at the very least, a tetanus shot would be a good idea. (My kids are pretty rough & tumble, and get cuts and scrapes, and he thinks tetanus might be an actual risk for them.) But the only information I can find that is not geared towards babies and toddlers is a CDC chart that doesn't give very much detail (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/sch...chedule-pr.pdf
The CDC seems to recommend:
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis -- We want the tetanus shot, since that's what lead my husband to think about this in the first place. (We've already had to take my oldest son for one since he stepped on a rusty nail, but I think he'll need a booster by now.) What do you think of the diphtheria and pertussis? Dr. Sears says that it's unlikely for a small child to catch diphtheria, but is it more likely for an older child? And would it be as serious in an older child? He says that pertussis is serious for a child under 1 -- is it worth worrying about in a 12 year old? And can you get these vaccines unbundled if you don't want all three?
HPV -- We are absolutely *not* interested in this one.
Meningococcal -- The CDC chart says administer at age 13 for children who have not previously been vaccinated. Is this the meningitis vaccine? Dr. Sears says meningitis is rare after the age of 2, but the CDC charts seem to get *more* concerned about it the older the child is, including recommending it to college freshman if they've not been previously vaccinated. Plus, all of the cases of meningitis I have ever heard in the news were teenagers. Am I reading Dr. Sears wrong here?
Influenza -- Seems ridiculous to me, honestly. Our family *rarely* gets the flu, anyway.
Hep B -- The CDC recommends this since our children haven't had it yet, and Dr. Sears recommends it for teenagers, but this is an STD. It seems incredibly unlikely that my homeschooled 11 and 12 year olds (who aren't even *interested* in dating yet) would need this vaccine. Surely, if we decided to do this one, it could be delayed a bit longer?
Polio -- Again, the CDC recommends this since our children never had it, but it seems ridiculous to me. I didn't even have a polio shot as a kid.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella -- Recommended because our kids never had it, Dr. Sears recommends it *after* a blood test to ensure that they don't already have immunity. Personally, I am concerned about the rubella vaccine. I know that it's very important that pregnant women are not exposed to rubella, and I know that adults rarely keep up with their booster shots. Wouldn't it be safer for my children to develop a natural immunity to rubella to ensure that they don't end up catching it as adults of child-bearing age (including my sons -- I expect them to have pregnant wives one day!) Also, can you get these shots unbundled?
Chickenpox -- I notice that the CDC chart only lists this as "varicella," and doesn't mention *anywhere* that varicella *is* chickenpox. Should I give them the benefit of the doubt that they assume that parents know that already? I have the same concerns with this as with rubella. My kids have never caught chickenpox (though I know that they may have developed immunity anyway), and I am concerned about giving them temporary immunity during the years when the disease is the least serious only for them to catch it as adults because they failed to keep up with their booster shots. However, it seems like everyone I know has their child vaccinated against chickenpox (in fact, the only family we know whose kids *got* chickenpox had been vaccinated), so I'm also concerned that it's not likely for them to ever catch it.
Hmmm, writing all of that out helped me think. Seems like we probably want tetanus, maybe meningococcal (but not for another year or two), will consider MMR/varicella after a blood test, and I don't know about diphtheria and pertussis. Any information or advice you could give me would be very helpful!