Monday, June 17, 2013

The Vaccination Conversation

So this topic may be a bit controversial. It may may spark some comments. And it may upset people, but, since I have blogged about every other aspect of this pregnancy, I feel an obligation to throw this one out there as well.

I would like to preface this by saying, I am clearly not a medical expert. I am not a parenting expert (if those even exist) and I am not an infant development specialist. I am, however, a woman who has a responsibility to this child and owes her the small amount of time that goes into researching this topic to make as much of an informed decision as possible. Fortunately, I am a nerd and like to research, read, and explore every possibility. I am also fortunate that I am married to someone who has an open mind and is willing to listen.

Adam and I have learned that there are a lot decisions that need to be made regarding this little human. We are no longer responsible for ourselves but for this baby. As one who asks a lot of questions and researches, the topic of vaccination was right up my alley.

When I initially started research, I made the decision to purchase The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for your Child. What I like most about this book is that it doesn't tell you what you should and shouldn't do, but lays out all of your options-options I didn't even know existed. Initially, it outlines each of the vaccines included in the current vaccination schedule by discussing the purpose of that vaccination, the risk of the child catching that disease based off of a variety of factors, and how that vaccination is made up. Again, it lays out the facts without opinion.

It then goes on to discuss the purpose of multiple rounds of certain vaccinations and then discusses the different schedules and how schedules have evolved.

What I find most fascinating is how the vaccination schedule has changed from when I was baby to now. There are so many more vaccinations that a child receives now opposed to 27 years ago. The question I have always had was "Why? I think I turned out perfectly fine." It isn't because I think vaccinations are evil. In fact, I am grateful for how far our medical community has come to prevent such diseases. I just wonder if it is necessary for the schedule to be so crowded. Is there a way the schedule can be formatted so my baby isn't receiving six shots at one time? I am not concerned about the pain this would bring as that goes away almost instantly, but the side effects this can have one someone so tiny and young.

If you read Dr. Sears' book, he provides several different schedules based on what you think is necessary for your child. So, here it is: Adam and I have decided to follow the alternative schedule. The only difference between this schedule and what the CDC recommends is that our baby won't receive the Hep B shot once she is born (like literally the day of) but instead receive it when she is older. The other difference is that the shots are more spread out. This will mean more visits to the doctor, but won't be as taxing on her developing immune system. That's it.

One thing that will be easy for people to jump to conclusions with is I am doing this because I believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism. I would be lying if I said this didn't cross my mind. While there was a lot of buzz about a possible link between the two, the research that was initially conducted has been "debunked." The problem with autism is that no one knows how it is caused and no one knows how to treat it. If I listened to everything that people say I should or shouldn't do while pregnant or raising a baby to prevent autism, I would go crazy. The most recent things I have heard that cause autism are: Taking too much acetaminophen, having too many ultrasounds, drinking too much caffeine, eating read meat, and the list goes on. Anyway, I am rambling, what I am trying to say is that while autism was something I initially thought about regarding vaccinations, there is no way of knowing. I am not about to put our baby's life at risk over something that may or may not be true.

So, that is where I am with vaccinations. I appreciate all opinions and welcome any comments or feedback and am interested in hearing the thought process that went into other's decision.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you guys to do your research! It's so important for parents to make informed decisions for their kids.

    Another book Justin and I found very helpful was "What Your Doctor May not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations" by Stephanie Cave.