I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, but every time I started, it just overwhelmed me. There are so many opinions out there about what parents should be doing for their kids. And I’d say, the choice to vaccinate is one of THE most controversial because what we choose to do or not do can affect the well-being and health of others.
This is the current recommended vaccine schedule for children from Birth to 15-months:
Based on this schedule, the average baby now will have received a total of 23 shots (minus Rotavirus, which is administered orally) by the time he reaches 15-months of age. Prior to 1985, children were only required to receive 5 vaccine shots by the time they were 5 years old, and no more than one shot per visit. Here’s a fascinating outline on the history of vaccine schedules and how they’ve evolved over time.
After researching this topic to death, and looking at both sides of the spectrum to get a more balanced view on the subject, I decided to follow an alternate vaccination schedule. The idea of 6 different vaccines in one visit for my 2-month old infant didn’t sit well with me. I’m no medical professional, but I know the world of medicine is constantly evolving and what could be true today might be false tomorrow (just look at how much our dietary recommendations have changed in the past 2 decades!).
I wasn’t reassured by the idea that the CDC vaccine schedule was backed by sound scientific research. The medical field is just as driven by money and lobbyists and politics as the rest of them. One of the first questions I asked my pediatrician of choice was her perspective on vaccinations. I was relieved when she shared my views in administering an alternative schedule.
This chart shows my daughter’s vaccinations to date:
(bc I’m not skilled in photoshop, I didn’t add in the vaccines she got at 9-months, which were the Hep B + Influenza. It also makes me wonder, why didn’t the CDC have 9-month vaccinations on their schedule? It would make more sense to space it out a little more than to jump from 6 to 12-months with nothing in between)
As you can see, my daughter has never received more than 3 vaccines in one visit. My pediatrician told me that it would be ok to delay vaccines like Polio, which is now considered non-existent in the U.S. and entire Western hemisphere. By looking up each disease one by one, you can find a lot of information out there about the prevalence of each.
I do believe in vaccinating. I believe in protecting our children from preventable diseases, and not putting others at risk because I didn’t vaccinate. However, I also can’t help but worry about the CDC’s aggressive vaccine schedule. I struggle with how taxing these vaccines might be on my little one’s underdeveloped body. At 1-month, my daughter couldn’t even fart without crying because passing gas was too painful due to her undeveloped digestive tract. That might be a silly example, but it makes me think… are we putting too much too soon into their little newborn bodies? I don’t have the right answers, but I am trying to make the best decisions for my family based on a combination of research, doctor input, and common sense.
Ultimately, I feel confident in our decision to go with an alternate vaccine schedule. I think it is a good balance of keeping my daughter (and others around her) safe from preventable diseases while lessening the burden of foreign substances in her body at such a young age.
What are your thoughts for vaccinating (or not vaccinating) your baby and why?
*Author Note: I am not a doctor or medical professional, but simply a mom sharing her personal experiences. Please seek the advice of a physician before making any serious medical decisions.