Vaccination Hesitation

Last Monday, my 11 month-old son was scheduled for vaccinations. We are on Dr. Sears schedule, so he only receives one or two vaccinations at a time, but it doesn’t relieve one bit of doubt or anxiety about these doses. I can never sleep the night before, I’m always nervous and go into serious prayer mode. No, I am not anti-vaccines, I believe they are necessary. But I have some serious reservations about them, as do most of my friends.

If you are over 30 and recently had children, statistics say you have undoubtedly asked yourself or physicians a ton of questions regarding your baby’s shots. My husband and I have never been opposed to vaccines, but we have chosen to control when they are administered. According to an article last week in the Huffington Post, that makes us, “shot-limiters.”

I remember when my daughter was born, and we were overwhelmed with information and decisions, we decided to choose a pediatrician that would at least allow us to alter the schedule. I was actually surprised by how many physicians do not allow parents this type of flexibility. We read vaccine books, baby books, researched online and surveyed friends.

On one of our first doctor visits, my husband asked about an alternate schedule. The pediatrician made sure to start her commentary about how there has been no scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism blah, blah, blah. And how they are completely safe, blah, blah, blah. So my husband then asked what’s the harm in administering them at a slower pace. I will never forget her response, “none, but it’s a major inconvenience for you two to keep having to come back.” We laughed at her concern for our scheduling “It’s okay, he said, we don’t mind the inconvenience.”

So I suppose now is a good time for a disclaimer. I am not a physician, I am not a vaccine expert and I don’t claim to be. I am a mother; one who simply wants to keep my children safe.

In the late 1970’s the US vaccine schedule included 7 shots, the current schedule calls for 32 shots from birth to 6 years old; sometimes calling for five or more vaccines per visit at some early childhood appointments.

Medical experts pro shot-limiting, argue that there is no immune memory until the child’s immune system develops between 6 and 18 months, so why vaccinate newborns? Others argue that other environmental factors, prenatal exposure and more accurate diagnoses share responsibility for the high numbers of Autism cases, not vaccines.

Now being a shot limiter comes with its own level of anxiety. Parents become solely responsible for researching which vaccine is administered at what age. Medical professionals are reluctant to answer your questions. When I arrive for vaccines, they ask me what shots he is having that day. There is no additional co-pay to return for vaccines, but there is also no discussion and no dialogue. Parents alone assume the responsibility. In addition, apparently you can no longer get measles, mumps and rubella vaccines separately in our area, so decisions, decisions, decisions. In our case, we delayed it until our daughter was almost two and then prayed real heard before the MMR was administered by her Pediatrician. In fact, last month an Italian Court ruled that the MMR was responsible for at least one autistic diagnosis (http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/06/us-media-blacks-out-italian-court-ruling-that-mmr-vaccine-caused-childs-autism/).

Truthfully, I don’t know what to believe, but I do know if the only negative to Dr. Sear’s schedule is my inconvenience, I’ll gladly take it in lieu of “some” peace of mind.

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3 thoughts on “Vaccination Hesitation

  1. This is definitely a hot topic….speaking as a mother of both an autisitc child and a “neurotypical” child, I have been dealing with this issue for a while (my autistic child is 17, almost 18)….When I had Aaron, autism wasnt on my radar….at first. But as his speech began to leave him and he went into his own world, I started reading….and reading…and reading. I even went back to school and obtained a master’s that would arm me to be his advocate forever (Go Pirates!). The subject of vaccines and autism quickly came to my attention, but to be very honest, it was not something that I really bought into, perhaps because my reality was not one of “what caused his autism”, but more of “what in the hell do we do now so that he can have a quality life?” As time went on, and more children were being diagnosed (and I was starting to see more autistic kids in therapy), I started to think about this subject more: could there be a link to vaccines? Is it more environmental? My perception, when I read articles from scentific journals and autism organizations was this: nobody knows for sure and there needs to be more valid research. Then a few months ago, I see on the news that the lead researcher that touted the link between vaccines and autism admits to lying about his research findings…..I was saddened by this event. Why do that to parents who are desparately looking for an answer as to why this has happened to their children? Why give them false answers? Anywho, when I became pregnant with my second child, I was concerned to say the least. My husband and I prayed and discussed and prayed and discussed what to do. We decided to allow Bryant (aka Moo) to get the same vaccination schedule as Aaron received……and he is fine. In my heart, I believe that autism is one of those neurological mysteries that may never be fully understood. Parents have to do what they feel is best for their children. I am a strong proponent of valid research and support for persons who have autism and their families. As always, thank you for sharing……….

    • No thank you for sharing Keisha. I knew about your son’s diagnosis but hadn’t a clue about your journey to find answers. What an awesome way to handle your child’s diagnosis. What a champion for such a serious cause. I have quite a few friends that have children with autism, way more than I am comfortable with. I too was disappointed that the Doc retracted his research, but I also understand the awesome pressure he received from pharmaceutical companies, the government and others to do so. I think you nailed it when you said more research is needed. I don’t think anyone can deny that. Until parents have some solid answers, there will always be questions. I am so proud of how you handled this situation in your family. What strength, what tenacity. Keep it up, so many people will benefit and have benefited from your research and expertise.

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