A lot of people have asked me about our daughter’s alternative vaccination schedule and why we chose to have the shots a certain way.
After a lot of research we were not comfortable with the standard vaccination schedule. Many of the shots are given at a particular order to benefit the adults around a child’s life, or for practical reasons that don’t really take into consideration how multiple shots and the toxic substances such as mercury, formaldehyde and MSG among others, will affect such a young body.
For example, I have chosen to delay vaccinations to sexually transmitted diseases that only give immunity for 6-7 years to my newborn child because I can’t justify giving her that shot until she is older. That doesn’t endanger anyone, it simply inconveniences the doctors and affects their numbers. Well, too bad.
Rubella is so mild in children that most of the time it is not even recognized by parents and doctors. The reason it is given to children at such an early age as part of the MMR vaccine is because it is dangerous to pregnant women. So even though only about 20-100 cases are reported in the USA every year and the side effects of the vaccine, which in rare cases include (according to the CDC website) autoimmune reactions, permanent vision issues, encephalitis with brain damage and paralysis, tend to be harsher and more frequent than with other vaccines, they are still given as a single triple shot instead of separating each individual shot (the measles, the mumps and the rubella shots), which could minimize the side effects. No human being in nature would contract 3-9 diseases at once, which is what these shots are mimicking.
Also, contrary to what the media wants you to believe, small outbreaks of diseases are NOT caused by unvaccinated babies or those with delayed vaccines. They are caused by all the adults, who WERE vaccinated, but are either not really immune, since vaccines aren’t completely effective, or have lost immunity, since vaccines only give immunity for a certain number of years. So if people want to completely create herd immunity, it’s the adults who need booster shots of ALL shots they had as kids.
I couldn’t reconcile my concerns about the side effects with the justifications given to me by doctors as to why I should follow a particular schedule. On the other hand, I couldn’t refrain from giving my daughter vaccines all together either. There is a part of me that would always question that decision and living in a city like NYC, which is an open gate to the world, the possibility of exposure is just too great for me to make peace with the idea of not vaccinating. Ultimately I don’t think vaccines are a bad thing. I think they do save millions of lives and are an important tool to keep our children safe, but the way they have been given to children in recent years also smells much more of pharmaceutical companies’ aggressive lobbying and bonus systems for doctors than concern for my child’s health and well being.
Because of that and many other reasons, we have decided to schedule the shots in a way that seemed more realistic in relation to the real threat of contracting the diseases (whooping cough, for example, is one of the first shots given in the DTaP, since it is common and dangerous to young babies) and giving our daughter’s little body more time to deal with each one. They are more spaced out and fewer shots are given at each visit, which does create the inconvenience of added doctor visits, but we feel it’s a small price to pay. Some of our schedule is based on Dr Sears’ Alternative Schedule.
As I mentioned in a previous article, at the end of the day, if something happens to my child, doctors and politicians will go home, have dinner and forget all about it. We have to live with the consequences of that every day of our lives, so the least we are entitled to is the right to make those choices ourselves and doctors who are knowledgeable about and open to discussing the side effects of each one. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
In NYC, where we live, the law dictates that as many as 30-40 vaccines be given to children before they start school. As of December 2014, the flu shots will also be mandatory, adding even more shots to an already overburdening list of diseases. I have changed doctors twice to avoid having to go through yet another discussion about how inconvenient it is to them to follow an alternative schedule, not to mention resistance from clinics that receive substantial bonuses from companies when all of their patients are following the regular schedule. There are many doctors who understand the concerns, don’t act patronizing towards parents concerns and are sympathetic to a more careful approach, and I should have done my research there as well.
My point is that parents have a right to be informed and make decisions about their child’s health like they would with any other medical procedure, and that doctors should be willing to have this conversation with the parents before injecting ANY substance into their child’s arm. Actually they should be required to. I truly believe that it’s the lack of an open discussion that has driven many people to refuse to vaccinate all together.
For some, the safety issues may seem small, but they are real, and they can only be addressed if people are not afraid to challenge the status quo and demand that research addresses the flaws in vaccinations and how they are prepared and when they are administered. When the divide becomes about accusing each other instead of looking at the real issues, no progress can be made.
For any parent trying to decide what schedule to follow, I highly suggest reading different perspectives and particularly suggest the book The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library). It is the most comprehensive and easy to read book on the topic I have found ( and believe me, after reading a few hundred studies and highly technical books, you would really appreciate that as well), and it allows you to read about individual vaccines, the pros and cons, side effects, ingredients and rates of infection worldwide.
For those who have been asking me about it, our schedule is below. It is based on our personal concerns and choices, and the incidence of certain diseases in NY in particular, so it should be read as a simple example of an alternative vaccination schedule. It does include all mandatory vaccinations (we are skipping the flu shots all together for now). It has also changed a few times due to vaccine availability and her reaction to certain shots or local infection rates . We have postponed the MMR vaccination to as late as possible due to concerns about particularly strong reactions to it from our research and several first hand accounts:
6 months (Done)
2 1/2 years
3 1/2 years
4 years 3 months
12 years, 2 months