Making the Vaccination Decision

Recently I picked up a copy of The Vaccine Book by Robert W. Sears. After writing this post in May, I got a few comments suggesting I read this book. I didn’t know where I stood on vaccines or how I was going to learn everything there is to know.  I must say, this book really is a great resource! I feel much more educated and knowledgeable about vaccines now and I feel a little bit better about the choices I’m making for my son. I find myself constantly referring back to this book as well. It’s full of pencil marks and highlighted words. 

Basically it’s like I’m in college again. Except what I’m learning and researching is not for a made up character in my fiction health class drama scenario. It’s real. It’s for my son.

Vaccines are huge in my book. There are a lots of points to be looked at, a lot of things to consider and a lot of decision to be made. It was important to me that I educated myself on what exactly vaccinations are and what they do before I just followed some recommend schedule given to me, or obeyed my doctor like he was Prince of Egypt. And even if he was Prince of Egypt (which would be rather strange, considering we live in the USA) I wouldn’t go to him for all my life’s questions and wonderings.

I would figure it out for myself.

After reading and discussing this book with my husband we both (mostly) agreed on vaccinating our son fully (or almost fully) but putting him on a delayed schedule. I don’t believe in completely not vaccinating, but I also don’t believe in injecting small children with four different vaccines in a two minute period. I believe that vaccines are important and they do prevent disease but I don’t believe they are all necessary.

As of currently, we are following “Dr. Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule.” 
The schedule as listed out his book is as follows:
2 months: DTaP, Rotavirus
3 months: Pc, HIB
4 months: DTaP, Rotavirus
5 months: Pc, HIB
6 months: DTaP, Rotavirus
7 months: Pc, HIB
9 months: Polio, Flu
12 months: Mumps, Polio
We skipped the Rotavirus vaccine and there are a few past 12 months that we’re not sure about yet.  We also didn’t get any vaccinations immediately after birth- his first shot was at 3 months I believe so we follow this schedule loosely, not to an exact T. 
Dr. Bob explains this schedule as “the best of both worlds of disease prevention and safe vaccination.” This schedule allows only one aluminum containing vaccine to be given at a time, and also has no more than two shots being given at one time. Spreading out the vaccines allows your child to be exposed to less chemicals at once so “a baby’s system can process each more individually.” Giving only two vaccines at once also allows you to notice any side effects that may occur. If you’re getting 4 vaccines at once (the AAP schedule recommends 4 vaccines; HIB, Pc, DTap, Rotavirus, and polio at 2 months of age) it’s going to be hard to figure out exactly which vaccine is causing the side effect- if any side effect were to occur. This schedule also provides your child with the most important vaccines first and delays vaccines for less important vaccines and ones that are for less serious diseases.
Dr Bob sums up this schedule, in an expect from his book:
“If some of the theoretical problems with vaccines are real, this schedule circumvents most of them. If the problem’s aren’t real, then the only drawbacks is the extra time, effort, and cost for the additional doctor’s office visits. It means more gas money, more co-pays, and more “scary” episodes for your child. Oh, and you risk really annoying your doctor because you’re trying to think outside of the box. However, it does eventually provide complete protection from diseases, and it does so at an an age appropriate age. It gives kids protection from diseases at the ages when those diseases are the most troublesome, and it doesn’t unnecessarily overload young kids with vaccines that they don’t really need until they’re older.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times again. I believe it is our jobs as parents to educate, research, and teach ourselves the facts about all things in regards to making decisions for our children. I believe that every mother, vaccinating or not, breastfeeding or not, crying-it-out or not, baby food making or not, circumcising or not, is a good mother. You are a mother. You are amazing and selfless no matter what
So please, don’t let anyone tell you that you are “better” or “worse” because you decided to vax your child or you’re completely anti-vax or whatever. We’re all human after all.

If you’re still on the fence and have questions about vaccinations, I strongly recommend picking up a copy of Dr. Sears Vaccine Book. There are also some great comments from readers in this post who share their thoughts and feelings about vaccinating. I encourage you to check it out and look into reading the book. There are many other vaccinations books out there as well. Read them all. Anti -vax, for -vax, in-between -vax. Get out a fancy highlighter. Buy some fun sticky notes.

Be confident in the decisions you make for your children.

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

24 thoughts on “Making the Vaccination Decision

  1. I'm glad you found a schedule you feel comfortable with. Just reading that quote you included makes me cringe, though. 🙂 I don't want any aluminum being injected my kids. Guess that's one reason why I went the no-vax route. The main one was my eldest's reaction to his first (& only) vaccines at 6 months.

  2. I guess that makes sense. I am sort of like you I guess. I don't want no vaxs but I also don't want them all. You showed this in a good way. thanks.

  3. Dr. Bob Sears spoke at our area La Leche League conference and it was so very educational! I really want to go on a delayed vax schedule but instead I am going to to just say no to a few that he doesn't need. For example we didn't get the hep shot after birth.

    Great post! I reccomend the book too!

  4. Speaking from a biomedical perspective, you are probably going to be fine skipping the rotavirus vaccines – kids get diarrhea all the time for a number of reasons, and for most children with a normal immune system, it shouldn't be more than a hiccup, like a cold or flu. However, I wouldn't recommend skipping many of the “older child” vaccines past 12 months, because those tend to be the illnesses that can lead to dangerous sequelae. (That said, it is – of course – your decision, and whatever you decide, no one should presume to criticize.)

    However, if your child is not going to be vaccinated against rotavirus… please, please make sure that there are no immunosuppressed children at your child's daycare or activities. Rotavirus can be extremely dangerous for them, as they cannot fight it off and cannot be indefinitely provided with nutrients and rehydration.

  5. I am glad that so many are getting educated about vaccines. I am sad to say that I am just learning about them and sadly my 5 mth old has already had all the shots. It was after his 4 mth shots that I started to wonder about things, he got 3 shots and some oral stuff, but the sheets of info they gave me had about 8 different things on them. My husband and I have decided that the rest of his shots will be given differently. I just hope no damage has already been done. My 8, 6, and 2 year old children all fall within the spectrum,(we have only recently known about this) so only time will tell if I will have 4 on the spectrum.

  6. I put my daughter on a delayed schedule too. At first, I didn't even want to get her vaccinated but my husband talked me into it. She was 6 months when she had her 2 month shots. I didn't get her the rotavirus either or the one that prevents chicken pox.

  7. Hi! I'm new to following your blog and I like the motivational before and after shots and then the next day a really interesting topic discussion on the vaccines. I also loved how you said we are all mothers and all good mothers, even if we choose different things. The information you found is great. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I recently wrote about this book too. It's a great book for people going ahead and making vaccine decisions. We read this w/ What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave, M.D., F.A.A.F.P. & Deborah Mitchell. We went with the CDC schedule at first with our older, then we read more & decided to discuss with our doctor about various other options out there (selective, delayed, what if we didn't at all?). We only wish we had known about these books earlier when we were making decisions with our older 3 in their first year of life. The knowledge provided is excellent.

  9. I have to say that this is the first time I have really spoken with my dr. at length about vaccinations. I agree with the why…so I just never questioned the how and the when with my boys.

    We did a delayed schedule with Kylee.. a bit later than Dr. Sears recommendation actually and have been really happy with it. We have fit them into all of her w/c checks (starting at 4 months…nothing before) and spread them out so she only gets two shots at a time or less. We have been really happy with our decision and have been discussing how to best delay vax in the future.

    Our children don't have a lot of contact with other children at an early age so we aren't in much of a hurry, but we do believe in getting it done!

  10. I'm in Canada. We have a very similar schedule as the alternative schedule you show here. There aren't nearly as many offered or suggested. There are no newborn shots that I know of here(someone enlighten me if that's changed recently)
    As to school, even for my older, vaccinated kids, I get the excemption because I personally disagree with the health units holding the children's education ransom until they get the information. It's not mandatory to vax here, it's mandatory to provide the school with the information as to whether your child is vaxed or not. I don't believe it's the schools business what medical decisions I make for my children so I get exemption letters vaxed or not.

    I am not anti vax…but I am for informed consent for these medical procedures and privacy of the decisions.

  11. This post was so helpful! Thanks so much..seriously. I have had my son on a delayed schedule as well. It just makes better sense. I'll have to go get that book.

    Gave your blog an award over at my place!

  12. Just a thought…my first child was born prior to the rotavirus vaccine and she got rotavirus at 8 months. It was HORRIBLE!! She could not keep anything in, she lost weight and was very dehydrated and lethargic and then she spread it to me. It was a vicious couple of weeks at our house. Both of my subsequent have been vaccinate for that! I agree that each family must do what is best for them, but having experienced rotavirus that is one vaccine I won't do without!

  13. I have never thought of doing a delayed schedule.

    We go to the regular apps, my daughter gets her shots and then we go home.

    When she was a year, they gave her the MMRV shot. She ended up getting 'minipox' from it. It means we don't have to get the booster for it, but that was just awful. 2 weeks of spots all over her, fever, she wouldn't eat, everything. It was just awful.

    That was the only one she has had a reaction to thank goodness.

    I don't think I would ever be comfortable going with no vaccines for my child. It just seems weird not to vaccinate. There's a reason we don't have smallpox anymore ;).

    Good post!

  14. Thank you for your post. Our sons are the same age and I'm tackling these decisions as well right now. He's 6 months now and we haven't vaccinated yet but we said we'd start at 6 months…

  15. I haven't read any of the other comments. However…

    I also read Dr. Sears book. Something he never talks about is autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders develop when your body is attacking itself. Every time a child gets a shot, their immune system reacts to that shot (hence why having SO many shots at once is dangerous IMO). If your child is getting shots every month for the first year, I'm just not sure that's good for their immune system. Also, every time a shot is given, their immune systems are compromised, making them susceptible to other illnesses (and with a delayed schedule, therefore susceptible over and over again.) I am so, so torn and confused on what to do with the vaccine thing. I've read books, articles, posts on forums, blogs…and I just cannot make up my mind at all. On the one hand, my mama instincts are telling me NOT to do any! On the other hand, today my daughter is sniffling and coughing and I'm terrified she has pertussis…I mean, she probably just has a cold! But it's scary.

  16. I checked out the book while expecting my 4th. child. I found it helpful in learning what the risks were with each of the vaccines.

    I ended up going with a delayed schedule, but a little different than the one in the book. I talked with our pediatrician and he gave me advice about which vaccines we could wait on and which were important while the baby was very little.

  17. You guys made some great points!

    Kara- I'm sure your daughter is fine, don't worry! I could totally understand how you would worry though- I would too! Good point about the immune system.. never thought of that…

    Lauren- how scary about the rotavirus. I think actually our doctors office doesn't even DO those shots.. I need to look into that more..

    Now that I think about this even more and read some of these comments, I think maybe I want to delay some even more. Gosh, there are so many decisions! Our son is hardly around any babies or other kids.. so maybe we could/should delay some further…

    What about kids and day care? I want to start taking him to the day care at my gym but not sure because he is on the delayed schedule..

    Thanks for all the great comments! And to everyone who said “thanks”.. you are so very welcome! 🙂

  18. When my daughter was born, now 5 yrs old, Vaccinations were not a subject that I pondered. After she received her 1st set a age 2 months, I started to question the amount of vax required at uch a young age. I also decided to delay. I waited until my daughter was 4 before vaxing her. She was at home with me and not in day care so I felt good about my decision. She is now almost caught up. I am glad you found a schedule you feel comfortable with.

  19. Courtney: In Canada vaxes are entirely parent's choice. A couple provinces you need to bring a note to school, but it's against our constitution to make vaxes mandatory. I do homeschool, but that has nothing to do with vaxes. In the US all but 2 states (West Virginia & Mississippi)have at least a religious exemption & many have a philosophical exemption. http://www.unhinderedliving.com/statevaccexemp.html & http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx have exemption info.

    For anyone researching, not sure how long it'll be up for, but Vaccines: The Risks, Benefits and Choices: http://www.livevideo.com/video/52AE5E9B39F843DF9B681162C7B7D6D7/vaccines-the-risks-benefits-.aspx by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny is incredibly informative.

    My kids are totally unvaxed, except my oldest, & I've never worried about taking them anywhere. We wash our hands when we come home & sanitize them before eating while out. If they get sick, it sucks, but they get better. I don't worry about me getting sick, why would I worry about them? Hubby is a little more worried, but that's because he can't handle them throwing up, it makes him feel sick. I do make sure they're getting enough C & D, but that's about it.

  20. Great post!!

    With my oldest, I just did what the doctor's told me to do…cause they are the professionals, right?

    Yes, but no.

    You are the professional for your child, and I think that it's the parents job to read, research, and question what goes into your child's body.

    With my one year old, we are on my own schedule. She doesn't get more than 2 at a time, and they have never been on time, and she won't be getting the chicken pox vax. I understand the dangers of someone getting them when they are older…but heck, when I was a kid, my mom put us around other kids who had it, so all 4 of us would get it, and be done with it.

    I'm not pro-vax, but I'm not anti vax either. I'm at the position where the parent's need to act as the professional for their child's care, and be informed.

    With that being said, don't even get me started on the GARDASIL vax. Mom's of girls 8-18. Please, please, please do your research on the vax. Pediatricians all over are backing away from this vax because of the unknown and known dangers.

  21. Courtney – in Oregon where we live you can opt to not get the vaccines and still go to public school. You just check a box that says that you are electing not to for religious reasons. They don't question it at all as far I as I have heard.

    Personally, we are doing a delayed and selective schedule too. So far our baby has had two rounds of DTaP and HIB. I am nervous about doing the next round, the more I read the scarier it seems! But I assure myself with the idea that the VAST majority of babies get all of them with no negative effects.

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