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.