So as a parent I'm sure you have heard about all the controversy that surrounds immunizations/vaccinations. If you haven't, google it because you should! Read this after you are a little less dense on such an important issue for your child/ren.
Having worked with an autistic girl for several years in college, I became terrified of the slough of vaccinations the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends children get in the first few years of their lives. In the first two years of life, the CDC recommends three hepatitis B shots, three rotavirus shots, four DTaP shots (each one contains diphtheria, pertussis whooping cough and tetanus), four Hib shots, four pneumococcal/pneumonia shots, three polio shots, a flu shot, one MMR shot (contains measles, mumps and rubella), one varicella/chickenpox shot and two hepatitis A shots. That is TWENTY SIX SHOTS with a total of 36 viral/bacterial exposures (or whatever you would call it) to 14 different diseases.
Now let's look at the same CDC suggested schedule from the time many of us parents were getting immunized. In 1980, infants were vaccinated against four diseases -- diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio (http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=10306). FOUR. That's it...four different immunizations in comparison to the 14 they recommend today.
Yes, science has advanced to allow these. Yes, tons of lives have been saved.
The rate of autism appears to have gone up significantly since the 1980s (this is a very debated topic in itself as there has also been large changes in diagnostic practices). There is also the fact that the United States has what appears to be the largest prevalence of autism in the world. Who knows why...I'm serious. The catch to this whole post is I don't know...no one really knows what causes it or I wouldn't even need to write this damn book!.
Insert ten pages of conspiracy theory stating all the studies that have found no correlation between the shots and autism are funded by the people who make the vaccines...plus the fact that if the CDC said there was a correlation no one would get their kids immunized and we would see mass explosions of all these diseases throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
Though there was little evidence at the time my kids were born that supported the belief that autism is caused by the mass amounts of vaccinations young children get, I opted to skip all vaccinations for the first two years of life and then slowly catch up with the vaccines required by the school system. The one study that did provide strong statistical evidence of a link between vaccines and autism was just recently discovered to be a fraud.
So, I waited until Boo was two to begin immunizations. Why wait until the magic age of two? It is widely accepted that a large majority (estimated 80%) of a humans brain is developed by two years of age (no quote here....google it and you'll find it everywhere). Makes sense not to beat the crap out of a little brain until it has some good development under its belt.
I waited to get any immunizations until my kids were two, AND I WAS WRONG! I am very lucky neither of my precious angels died of some preventable disease. What would I have done differently? I think I would have followed the 1980s schedule for the first two years and then catch up one several of the vaccines on the current one.
I have several friends who went with the current CDC recommendations. I commend those who did their research first and still decided to go with the slough of shots. I commend those who did their research and followed a different schedule (a popular one is Dr. Sears alternative schedule). I still commend those who do their research and decide to wait like I did, for they did some research.
My point: Do your research on the subject and make the best decision for your family and child. Don't expect to get all the answers from your pediatrician (many have to follow company policies and state CDC standard schedule). If you don't go with the current recommendations, don't expect a lot of support from the pediatrician. And keep updated on current info!
Too lazy to research for yourself? Well, probably best to go with the current CDC recommendations. This is NOT medical advice, just my thoughts on an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Love you Molly!
About this blog
If you're looking for me to brag about how cute my kids are (which they are) or talk about how much weight I did or didn't lose this week, you are in the wrong place! I have a Facebook account for that. This blog is about the blunt truths of parenting, tips and tricks of the trade, some addicting mommy junk and all the other disgusting hilarity that ensues when you have kids...especially two kids only 12 months apart like myself.