Never Vax'd, but starting Military Life - so conflicted! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 10-20-2010, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually created an account just for this question, because I knew I needed feedback from like-minded mamas I have a 25month old daughter, who's never had any vaccinations. I was planning on giving her SOME, eventually, but it just didn't feel right while she was this little (personal choice... plus a little bit of wimping out...) However, my husband has recently joined the Air Force, and we'll be moving to be with him in the spring. We will definitely be going overseas at some point in his career (hopefully not now), and people living on base will be coming back and forth from constant overseas tours and assignments, exposing my daughter to much more in terms of "dead" diseases than the "typical" American child. I feel like I should her started on vax's and quickly. Agree? Disagree? Which to start with? I'm so overwhelmed - any input or advice at ALL would be wonderful!
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#2 of 27 Old 10-21-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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Ack. I wouldn't give her all of them at once to catch up if I were you.
Your husband and the folks coming back from the countries with the VPD are presumably vaccinated (isn't the military really strict about vaxing servicepeople?) and therefore shouldn't likely be picking up any VPD to bring home to the kids. If it were me, I would possibly do TDaP, MMR, and IPV. It's a hard decision though, you're just going to have to research it.
Good luck.

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#3 of 27 Old 10-21-2010, 04:53 PM
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My husband was active duty, and we didn't vax our DS. My husband didn't travel outside the states except for a deployment to Iraq. But we lived in DC for a while w/ a lot of people from all over the world that traveled home to see their families. Lots of ethnicity in the stores and malls. Plus my DH worked at Walter Reed where he had a lot of people coming in from all over the place.
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#4 of 27 Old 10-22-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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I absolutely would start vaccinating if I was in your position. My DH isn't military, but he travels all of the time (domestically and internationally) and is one of the only Americans in his research group (he's a scientist). He flies regularly and so do we. He works at a university and encounters tons of germs. I can imagine that military life is similar with people always coming and going and being exposed to different germs. I would start with DTaP, then do MMR, and then get caught up with everything else. Good luck mama!

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#5 of 27 Old 10-22-2010, 12:35 PM
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We did the DTaP only, but if I was just vaxing a child over 2, I might consider just doing the DT since Pertussis doesn't scare me so much beyond infancy. Unless you are concerned about Diphtheria, you can hold off on it a little longer if you like. Kids aren't at very much risk of tetanus until they're at least 4 or 5. If I were in your situation, your situation might tip the scale and convince me to get the IPV.

Unless your concern is herd immunity, I would definitely skip Hib and Prevnar. Those are usally only serious for babies, and your child is not a baby. I'd skip CP since it doesn't scare me, and I'd skip Rota. I don't think the flu vax is needed for healthy children.

The STD ones (Hep B and HPV), I don't think you need to make a decision about quite yet. It will be a while before she's likely to be sexually active.

That leaves the MMR. That's a tough decision. In my opinion, that is probably one of the vaccines with the most potential benefits and also the most potential risks. You really need to weigh the balance yourself. In the end, for me, the ethical concerns won out. I can't give my child a vaccine that was produced using killed preborn babies, as this vaccine was. Even with that, though, my religion acknowledges that using this vaccine may be warranted in some situations. You need to look at the risks of getting the diseases, the risks from the diseases, your own particular risk factors for complications, and your own conscience before making a decision. If you do get it, I would do it on a day that your child is in good health, and I would make it the only vaccine you do that day.
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#6 of 27 Old 10-22-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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We're military, and we've always vaccinated.

My main concern would be a deployment to Afghanistan, where polio is endemic. The guys only get the IPV, which allows them in theory to transmit polio. Yeah, I know, the refrain is polio isn't that bad unless you get paralyzed, but I've been to Afghanistan and Pakistan and seen polio, and my impression was that it really was That Bad.

On the other hand, frankly, the fact that literally thousands of soldiers are on a direct flight daily from polio endemic areas straight to the U.S. and Western Europe doesn't seem to concern anyone else, and if you think about it, you won't be that much closer to the situation even in the military. I would more think your child would be likely to be exposed by being in a daycare situation with another military child of a less careful parent, than if your husband is meticulous about hygiene for a few weeks when he returns.

As HRJ mentions, it's not like you've not encountered people fresh off the boat from God-knows-where before. I came with my baby to the US twice before she had finished the polio series or had the MMR from a country where we now know polio is spreading.

Went straight to Target where I am sorry to say, she mouthed the cart handle.

I do want to say that as military, you will need to get the appropriate exemptions to use some of the childcare benefits you get from the military.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#7 of 27 Old 10-26-2010, 02:06 PM
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Keep in mind that depending on which state you are stationed in, you may not be able to vaccinate selectively. Some states that only have religious or medical exemptions, would make it difficult. Because in most states, religious vaccine exemptions have to be all or nothing, and if they find out that you vaccinated for polio but nothing else, they could reject your exemption and make you become up-to-date. Especially w/ moving around to states that you don't know the law to yet, that is something to consider. If you start vaxxing, you will have to finish vaxxing in some states (unless you are lucky enough to find a dr that would write a medical exemption for you).
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#8 of 27 Old 10-26-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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HRJ, even if they homeschooled?

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#9 of 27 Old 10-26-2010, 03:37 PM
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I went back and read the original post. I didn't see anything about them homeschooling. Am I blind? I'm confused. You don't need exemptions if you homeschool, but you would if you wanted to ever use the drop in day care and some dance classes and sports teams are requiring exemptions. I don't think the extracurricular activities people would think to look in a vaccine registry.
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#10 of 27 Old 10-30-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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I live in Eastern Europe and travel frequently between here and the US, and we selectively vaccinate. It really is going to depend on your particular situation--exactly where you are living/being exposed to germs, what the sanitation situation is, what kind of diseases are prevalent in that area, how old your child is by then, and which vaccines are okay to skip and which are not. If I were you I would start looking into each vaccine and what it means for a child that is no longer an infant, getting advice on particular ones. Polio and tetanus scare me the most, but that's just me...
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#11 of 27 Old 10-30-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HRJ View Post
I went back and read the original post. I didn't see anything about them homeschooling. Am I blind? I'm confused. You don't need exemptions if you homeschool, but you would if you wanted to ever use the drop in day care and some dance classes and sports teams are requiring exemptions. I don't think the extracurricular activities people would think to look in a vaccine registry.
Her child is too young but she might consider delaying until she decided whether or not to do public or on-post schools.

In Europe the military does check vaccines for every little thing. But you can get exemptions.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#12 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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Hmm first off, only the active duty personnel is required to get shots. family is not, even if you go overseas. You do not have to do shots even for DoD schools, religious exemptions are accepted at all time (you might have to fight a little and point out regs, but the law is on your side).

We decided on very delayed and selective vaccines, and the military doesn't know about them. Because they are all or nothing, and I mean CDC schedule, not just your state's requirement. Which means a 12 year old girl needs to get Gardasil or you cannot come along overseas. It is crazy and I would never ever consider anything but an exemption since you have no choice in delaying or selecting if you vaccinate with the military.

It very much depends on the country you might be going down the road, so there is no need to jump the gun now. What if you are sent to Great Britain or Germany? Absolutely no need. the only thing you might consider is a single measles shot which is available in Europe cause there are large pockets of unvaccinated children if you are afraid of measles. And you can do that privately, out of pocket, nobody needs to know.

As for your DH being e.g. in Iraq - they do get screened and heavily looked at before they come back. There is no need to worry. He won't bring back anything that's contagious that isn't around here too VPD-wise. Especially since he is required to be up to date. And they check for MMR and chickenpox titers, not just vax records in the Air Force. So you will know for sure that he is immune.

Beware though that active duty gets a yearly Flumist shot at most bases. We avoid the issue by getting a single dose dead virus shot at the health department ($20) so DH doesn't shed. When I called around last week to track one down, the obgyns office got all frantic that they want to give Flumist to a husband of a pregnant woman. They literally freaked out and said HE** NO. But, as always, the shot clinic on base says whatever you get it or we kick you out. Not mentioning that you can get it off-base at any time though.
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#13 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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He won't bring back anything that's contagious that isn't around here too VPD-wise. Especially since he is required to be up to date.
I asked the military and the soldiers do NOT get the oral polio vaccine. They only get the IPV, which does not prevent transmission. Nor does pertussis (though I doubt the soldier would be the main risk for that one), and I think there are others which do not prevent transmission.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#14 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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But they all had OPV as kids, so no need for IPV. DH had OPV and that was sufficient for them, it's supposed to last a lifetime.
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#15 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I asked the military and the soldiers do NOT get the oral polio vaccine. They only get the IPV, which does not prevent transmission. Nor does pertussis (though I doubt the soldier would be the main risk for that one), and I think there are others which do not prevent transmission.
I would honestly be more concerned about getting pertussis in the USA right now than DH bringing it home from overseas. We're in OH and both our family dr and pediatrician are seeing a lot of pertussis right now. And my pediatrician is seeing it in both vaccinated and unvaccinated kids.
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#16 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 05:46 PM
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Hmm first off, only the active duty personnel is required to get shots. family is not, even if you go overseas. You do not have to do shots even for DoD schools, religious exemptions are accepted at all time (you might have to fight a little and point out regs, but the law is on your side).

We decided on very delayed and selective vaccines, and the military doesn't know about them. Because they are all or nothing, and I mean CDC schedule, not just your state's requirement. Which means a 12 year old girl needs to get Gardasil or you cannot come along overseas. It is crazy and I would never ever consider anything but an exemption since you have no choice in delaying or selecting if you vaccinate with the military.

It very much depends on the country you might be going down the road, so there is no need to jump the gun now. What if you are sent to Great Britain or Germany? Absolutely no need. the only thing you might consider is a single measles shot which is available in Europe cause there are large pockets of unvaccinated children if you are afraid of measles. And you can do that privately, out of pocket, nobody needs to know.

As for your DH being e.g. in Iraq - they do get screened and heavily looked at before they come back. There is no need to worry. He won't bring back anything that's contagious that isn't around here too VPD-wise. Especially since he is required to be up to date. And they check for MMR and chickenpox titers, not just vax records in the Air Force. So you will know for sure that he is immune.

Beware though that active duty gets a yearly Flumist shot at most bases. We avoid the issue by getting a single dose dead virus shot at the health department ($20) so DH doesn't shed. When I called around last week to track one down, the obgyns office got all frantic that they want to give Flumist to a husband of a pregnant woman. They literally freaked out and said HE** NO. But, as always, the shot clinic on base says whatever you get it or we kick you out. Not mentioning that you can get it off-base at any time though.
Just keep in mind that whenever you get a vaccine, it can be entered into a state registry, and schools can look this up unless you opt out. I would research whether military doctors are putting this in state databases or in a government databases. There are moms on these boards that tried to just get 1 or 2 shots and still use a religious exemption. Their school looked them up in a state registry and found out. The school called b*llsh*t on the parents for saying they had a religious problem w/ all vaccines and forced them to become up-to-date.
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#17 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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I would honestly be more concerned about getting pertussis in the USA right now than DH bringing it home from overseas. We're in OH and both our family dr and pediatrician are seeing a lot of pertussis right now.
Which is what I said. My point was to illustrate that there are a number of vaccines that do not prevent transmission.

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And my pediatrician is seeing it in both vaccinated and unvaccinated kids.
Sadly, though it's less likely, even a vaccinated child can catch it if it starts circulating heavily when herd immunity is weakened. Especially those babies who have not gotten the full series.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#18 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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You've gotten some good responses so far and this is an entirely personal decision to make. You'll have to decide what is best for your family, child and situation. If you are going to selective/delayed vax though one thing to look at is the CDC catchup schedule here:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/sch...chedule_pr.pdf

Look it over. Waiting to vax means you can have less vaccinations and less doses and still be considered "up to date." Not ideal but can at least lower the vax your child does get. This may at least be easier to handle.

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#19 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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Your husband joined the USAF, not your daughter. She does not need to get any vaccinations that you do not want her to have. Use your philosophical or religious exemption.
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#20 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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@ HRJ: that is why you don't do shots on base. And then you opt out of the registry, and possibly do it in another state with more lenient laws. It's worth driving 4 hours to do this. Or in our case, we haven't started yet, I cannot get myself to do it just yet, but one shot I want is measles only. We get this in Europe only anyways, so how will the US government ever know?!
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#21 of 27 Old 11-08-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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My husband is in the Marine Corps and we are stationed overseas (Japan). We delay vax and only do some of the vaxes not all. We haven't ran into any trouble. You/your child isn't required to have a single vaccination, you aren't the person enlisted/comissioned. The only one they really push over here is Hep B because of a tainted blood supply issue (there were a quite a few cases of people getting Hep B from blood transfusions using banks off of base and you aren't guaranteed to be able to get blood from on base in an emergency). Hep B is the only vaccine our youngest has gotten, our oldest was fully vaccinated until 9 months old and she had a reaction to a vaccine. Then I started researching and decided not to vax until she is older.

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#22 of 27 Old 11-08-2010, 04:51 AM
 
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The only one they really push over here is Hep B because of a tainted blood supply issue (there were a quite a few cases of people getting Hep B from blood transfusions using banks off of base and you aren't guaranteed to be able to get blood from on base in an emergency)
Hep B is also endemic in parts of Asia. Lots of people have asymptomatic Hep B from childhood, that doesn't affect them until they're in they're sixties. But it's the same virus and if you get it as an adolescent or adult even from blood or a scratch (which is how it's transmitted among children in Asia, playing in the street etc.) then it's just the same as if you got it from a dirty needle or unprotected sex for you...

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#23 of 27 Old 11-11-2010, 09:29 AM
 
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If you have an exemption that restricts further vaccination (but get another vax anyway)  that would likely cause an exemption to be rejected; but if you have vaccinated in the past then obtained an exemption, that is different; you don't have to continue vaccinating because you once did. It is also important to note that exemptions are for civilian schools, DODDS, on base childcare, and sometime MWR activities; the military cannot force dependents to vaccinate just for being dependents (I have info on dependent exemptions for school/care and dealing with overseas medical screenings--pm if needed).

 

Overseas assignments with dependents are primarily Western Europe and Japan, and they have typical vaccine schedules for their populations though generally more choice on whether or not the schedules are followed. Your dh will be vax'd for diseases of particular concern for the area he is going to, but vaxing the CDC schedule now won't be helpful against any non-VADs he may come across. If you are primarily concerned about being overseas, a pp had a good idea in vaxing "on the economy" to stay off the military vax clinic radar.


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#24 of 27 Old 11-29-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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I am not going to touch the issue of what shots you should or should not get BUT,

 

A PP was right, your husband joined the military not you or your child. You are entitled to use a religious exemption for yourself and child and the military cannot force you to comply with CDC standards. One thing they can and have to do is require that you are up to date on any shots that are required by the country you are based in overseas. If a country you are based REQUIRES a shot, you will have the option of getting that shot or staying stateside while your husband serves overseas. Japan has no required shots so if you are stationed here you will be safe. You need to check the laws of the country you will be going to and not take the military's word for it :-)

 

We used a standard religious exemption. The first time I wrote one it was very wordy--now I write: "I am religiously opposed to some of the shots on the schedule". That leaves me with the option of doing or not doing whatever shots I want--and no one has blinked an eye.

 

The thing is that when you move overseas you will have to take classes the first week and they will not let you take your baby, unless under six months and nursing. You will also not be able to use the CDC (base daycare) unless you are fully up-to-date on shots or have a waiver prepared and waiting. If you have your waiver you will be able to use the center, and actually get settled and driving in your new country faster than if you have to somehow stagger classes with your husband.

 

Good luck, overseas life with the military is great fun--but you need to know your rights :-)

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#25 of 27 Old 11-29-2010, 08:38 AM
 
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My husband is an Air Force officer. Our four children are not vaxed and it's no problem. I have gotten several guilt trips from on base docs but it's no big deal. It's nice to not have to find a ped that is ok with not vaxing because the base clinic has to see you no matter what their opinion of you is.

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#26 of 27 Old 11-30-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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Don't go out & get your child bombarded with vaccines.  Try to figure out which diseases pose the most actually danger (like Polio) and vaccinate for those if you feel you need to vaccinate.  Regardless of PP, Polio is dangerous & can result in paralysis, inhibit lung function, etc.  Not a chance you want to take if there's a chance your child could be exposed.   Can you find a Dr that offers selective vax and ask their advice?    I think the DTaP, MMR, IPV route is a good start if you're going to vax.  Do them as spread out as possible & as many separate as possible.  There are also supplements you can give baby to help their body tolerate the vax.  Plus baby is over 2, the older you start, the better.  Good luck!


"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."- Albert Einstein

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#27 of 27 Old 11-30-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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Me and my Husband are active duty militay and we do not vax either of our children.  Just because your husband is joining is no reason to jump up and vax your child.  If you feel you want to for your own reasons that's up to you, but you can go overseas and use base childcare with an exemption, and if you go to any airport or anything you have the  same "out of country germs" floating around, or just going to any walmart for that matter.  The only thing you'll need to pay attention to is shedding, because your husband will have to get everything and anything out there.

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