Vaccinate This

2 September 2010

I’ve gotten a number of emails/calls in the past two weeks regarding my vaccination choices for Beau, so I thought it’d be easiest to put them on web paper. I chose to vaccinate my baby on a selective/delayed schedule, based on the one offered by Dr. Sears in The Vaccine Book (my main resource), although I did read other books. The reasons I chose for her to not have all vaccines and not get too many at once are: she was breastfed; not in daycare; vaccines do not grant you lifetime immunity and many adults do not get boosters; some of the ailments we vaccinate against are not that severe (99% of the time); there are aborted fetal cells in some vaccines; the FDA has not set a recommended aluminum content for infants and many vaccines contain way more than the limit for adults; not all strains are covered in a vaccine so you can still get the disease; and some of the diseases are not infant illnesses. Here’s Beau’s schedule, for the first 12 months:

2,4,6 months: DTaP (Daptacel brand)
3,5,7 months: HIB (actHIB) and PC (Prevnar)
12 months: Polio

I chose the first three because they are the most detrimental to infants under 2. I asked my pediatrician which brands she carried and of course she did not know. The brand they carried for DTaP had the largest AL content. I told her I didn’t want to use that brand because of the AL and she replied “Yeah, but there’s no mercury.” Uhm, yes, I know that. She did not know why they chose that brand (I am sure that pharmaceutical company gave out sweet vacations and lots of candy). I told her I wanted to use the Daptacel brand (less AL and no animal tissue) and they actually carried that in-stock because that is what Medicaid patients get. So, she set that aside for me. Otherwise, they were not going to order it. HIB and PC do not contain animal tissue. I am not opposed to the animal tissue vaccines entirely, but I try to limit them. I wish the DTaP was just P (Pertussis) but you have to get all things at once (diphtheria and tetanus and pertussis).

The hardest part about implementing this is finding a pediatrician who will be flexible with you. When we were in NYC, my pediatrician flat-out told me I was crazy and that she did not know what was in vaccines but she knew what they prevented. Awesome. Please make more decisions about my child’s life. But, she let me do whatever I wanted, so I stayed with her. When we moved to FL, I made a point of finding someone who is open to alternative schedules. We have no insurance, so I pay out-of-pocket to see her but it’s worth it to me. You can also get free vaccines at the Health Department, so I am going to look into that for her next round.

I did not do Rotavirus because I do not think the virus is that bad. And, this year, they had a recall on one of the brands because of contaminated pig tissue. I did not do Hep B because that is primarily from a needle or STD and I’ll decide on that later. I just take it one year at a time. At 12 months I did give her Polio. It has been around a long time and I consider it responsible for eradicating Polio in the US, so that’s the thing–there is no polio here. But since it’s been around so long I felt like it was safe and I gave it to her. I am undecided on the MMR vaccine and will examine that in a few more years, since they no longer offer it as separate shots. She will not be getting the chickenpox (varicela) vaccine. I would rather her get chickenpox and have lifetime immunity, although it’s getting harder to find chickenpox since most kids are vaccinated. I do not give Beau the flu vaccine nor do Oluv or I get it. Somewhere in the back chapters of The Vaccine Book, Dr. Sears talks about the statistical chance that your child will get any of the diseases and be hospitalized, which is really helpful when making these decisions.

Remember, you have the right to walk out of a doctor’s office. Do not let them intimidate you or make you feel bad. Some doctors do not actually know what is in the vaccine–all they know is what the pharmaceutical rep told them. And, if they are older, they may just do things the way they have always done them; or, so has been my experience. No one cares about your child as much as you do. I had so many regrets about what happened with Beau in the NICU that it gave me the courage to do things differently than my doctor advised and I am totally happy about the vaccine choices that I made. I did so much research that I honestly felt like I knew more about the vaccines than my pediatrician (at that time) did. This is not representative of every pediatrician and is just based on what I went through and discussions I’ve had with friends in the medical community. You are not violating a law by not/selectively vaccinating. All states offer a religious exemption for school (and some offer philosophical), so you just have to get a form signed by your pediatrician or the Health Department. In FL, they don’t ask any questions. They just sign it. I have been through that first hand and so have a few friends. But, the explanation that I have prepared, in case someone asks, is that vaccines contain aborted fetal tissue and I am religiously/ethically/morally opposed to abortion and don’t want those cells going in my child. That should suffice. The three vaccines that Beau received do not have aborted fetal cells in them. Although, I am more concerned about the pig, cow, and monkey tissue they put in vaccines. It is usually more helpful to discuss all of this with the pediatrician before you go to the first vaccine appointment, so you know how they feel about it.

I know people who get all vaccinations and people who get none and at the end of the day, you have to do what you believe is best for your child based on your experiences. I am not pushing this schedule on anyone, I do not think I have all the answers, and I am not a trained physician–I have just been asked about what I did and how I came to that decision and I thought it would be easier for people to reference here than in an email.


The National Vaccine Information Center

Dr. Sears Vaccine-Friendly Pediatrician List

Dr. Tenpenny’s Website

BabyCenter Message Board for Alternative Vaccination Schedules (top post has additional resources)

Chickenpox Vaccine Article by Compassionate Souls

Read my follow-up post to this (recounting a trip to the health department) here.


6 Responses to “Vaccinate This”

  1. Aimee Says:

    What happened to Beau in the NICU?

    And she won’t have any issues going to school without shots? I was under the impression that certain vaccines were required to attend public school.

    I think more and more parents are with you on this… I know Scott’s siste-in-law has done selective vaccinating also and she has the same mind set… just because it’s always been done one way doesn’t mean it’s whats best for the kids.

    Good for you for standing up for what you believe in. 🙂

  2. Aimee Says:

    Oh…. and one more comment…. WTF kind of pediatrician did you have in NY?!

    I cannot believe she said that to you !

  3. brooke rains Says:

    You can get a religious exemption that allows you to attend school without all of your vaccinations–that’s what you have to go to the Health Dept for. There were all kinds of things that happened during my delivery and first week in the NICU that I was really uncomfortable with and I just went along with. Too much to discuss here!

  4. RaeAnn Says:

    Makes me wonder how I had these other kids without your knowledge.

  5. […] I suspect mine is representative of the rest of America. You can see my initial vaccine post here, where I explain why I have created a select/delayed […]

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