Before You Vaccinate Your Child

What You Need to Consider

Will you vaccinate your baby before all of you leave the hospital?

You have just been handed your bundle of joy. Before you have a chance to recover and enjoy the moment, you are given your first parental decisions; what is your baby's name, if it is a boy, will you circumcise your child, and, will your baby receive their first vaccination before they leave the hospital?

In much the same way it is your responsibility to choose the name that will be with your child for the rest of their lives, it is also your responsibility to choose the care for your child including which vaccinations they will receive and when they will receive them. While family members and physicians may provide you with their input, the ultimate decision is yours and yours alone!

You researched the meaning of your child's name. You read every consumer report to see which car seat, stroller, and crib were the absolute safest. You must do the same when it comes to the vaccinations your child receives.

You may be wondering what all the fuss is regarding choosing how to vaccinate your child, and when they will receive them. After all, when you were growing up, your parents just did what the doctor told them to do, no questions asked. So, what's the big deal?!

Right now, there are two arguments. One side of the argument is based on "prevention is the best medicine" and "you need to trust the doctor." The other side of the argument, poses the question "is the cure worse than the disease, or, in some cases, does the cure cause the disease?"

Those who believe that prevention is the best medicine support the vaccination schedule, recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), be followed strictly by the book.

The opposing side emphasizes that the CDC and DHHS schedule is a recommendation providing parents and physicians with a guideline; but ultimately, both parent and physician must do what is in the best interest of the individual child and how to vaccinate.

Those who believe that the recommended immunization schedule is a guideline feel strongly that you cannot use a "one size fits all/cookie-cutter" approach when treating children. Your child has their own unique needs and is exposed to their own unique environmental stressors. Therefore, they deserve their own unique vaccination schedule.

Growing up in 1960, children were vaccinated for smallpox, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) and active poliovirus, up to six various diseases in the form of eight injections and one oral vaccine given between the ages of 2 months to 18 months.

As of 2007, children received vaccinations for Hepatitis B (HepB), Rotavirus (Rota), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), Pneumococcal virus (PCV), Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IVP), Varicella, Hepatitis A (HepA) meningococcal virus (MCV4), yearly influenza , MMR, and DTP for a grand total of fifteen possible diseases (in some cases sixteen diseases) in the form of twenty-four injections (up to 5 injections per visit) administered starting as newborns to 2 years of age. Here is a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2010 Immunization Schedules which include schedules for for persons aged 0-6 years, 7-18 years, and a "catch-up schedule". Here is also a link to the CDC's create a schedule for your child 0-6 years of age.

It is the increase in the number of vaccinations over a short period of time given to children with underdeveloped autoimmune systems that has physicians, scientists and other healthcare providers concerned.

With the increase in the number of vaccinations the number of cases of autism, asthma and other autoimmune illness that raises the question is the "cure" worse than the disease or could the "cure" cause a worse disease?

Those who support the idea of "prevention is the best medicine" argue that there is a lack of "research/evidence" associating ingredients such as thimersal with illnesses such as autism. But it is difficult to ignore the United States Federal findings involving Hannah Poling. In her case, the Federal government determined that the vaccinations she received as a toddler "significantly aggravated" an underlying autoimmune disease which predisposed her to autism.

Doctor Robert Sears, author of "Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for your Child" presents an alternative vaccination schedule. His book provides methods to minimize the possible side effects of each of the twelve recommended vaccines, controversial ingredients, selecting the safest brand to vaccinate with, how to choose which vaccination you want your child to receive and more.

While some physicians view Dr. Sears book as an attempt for someone other than your child's personal physician to dictate the care given to your child, it would seem that these physicians miss the intent of both Dr. Sears' book and the CDC's immunization schedule; both are meant to be used as guidelines to vaccinate, providing you with information to help you make an educated and informed decision about childhood immunization.

Once you have agreed on a schedule of how and when to vaccinate, be sure to keep a record of your child's vaccinations! Your physician should give you a card listing all of the recommended vaccinations, the number of doses per vaccine, when each dose is given and your physician's signature. You can also print blank immunization records from the internet or another immunization record version.

Remember, don't be afraid of change. If you feel your child's physician does not support your decisions, don't be afraid to change physicians.

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