Immunizations are a pretty hot topic these days. Whether you are a parent, in the medical profession, or watching the news lately you are likely aware of all of the controversy surrounding vaccines. Are there too many? Do they have a link to the increasing autism rate? Should they be spaced out more? Does the government have the right to mandate them for children? All of these questions and more are out there.
So as a parent what are we to do?
I am a firm believer in vaccinating children. In my mind the risk of diseases are far worse than the typical reactions to the immunizations. That being said my stance on a few things have changed. With my oldest son, NHL, I did the unreal vaccine schedule according to the CDC. Sure I questioned so many at once when he was itty bitty, but out of pure laziness I did not want to go back for a second trip at a later date to space them out. Since NHL was a baby in 2003-2004 a lot has changed. More and more people are suggesting to space out vaccines on newborns so as not to bombard their developing immune systems.
JSL is now 15 months old. Up to his 6 month vaccines we went mostly by the books. Then our world changed in February when he got sick, had a febrile seizure and stopped breathing. The last reading of his temperature before he seized was 102, quite low for a seizure. The little guy has a lower than usual body temperature, so 102 was very high for him. At that moment my thoughts changed. I remembered how NHL and most other children react to immunizations. Temperatures from 100-102 are common for a lot of children for a day or two after being immunized. NHL always had a fever after big shots and that worried me for his little brother.
At our 10 month visit we had a chat with our doctor. She agreed with me that we would be quite cautious about what we would give JSL in the future and split them up and drag them out. The doctor was on maternity leave when we went in for JSL’s 12 month well baby visit. The PA that was on for her did not see eye to eye with me. He pressured me into two vaccines that day and told me that by 15 months JSL had to be caught up. I was beyond ticked off. Why? His only rationale for telling me this was that I was not following the CDC vaccine schedule.
Excuse me? You have to be kidding me right?
No, he was quite serious and we left pretty annoyed at one another. In the end I went against my initial choice and allowed JSL to receive two vaccines. That was a BIG mistake. JSL had a horrible reaction not only on his leg, but had a fever to boot. Anything over 99 is a concern with JSL and we have to medicate. His temperature was around 101 and the number of horror in my mind is 102. Way too close for my comfort. I called and noted this on his file.
Yesterday we had JSL’s 15 month visit and NHL’s 5 year one at the same time. Our doctor was back from maternity leave so it was time to talk to her about my feelings on the MMR in particular. I believe that it is a very important vaccine, but I also know the extremely high rate of children that develop fevers over 101. This scares the heck out of me and I do not want to go into that territory at this point. Each month that goes by without another febrile seizure means we are less likely to have another, but we are far from out of the woods yet.
Much to my surprise the doctor is pushing the issue for doing the MMR and Varicella together within the next month. The only reason she would not do it yesterday is because JSL has a cold. I calmly explained that I had a bad reaction to the MMR when I was a child. It is a live virus and often results in pretty high fevers. That happened to me and I ended up with the measles. Her view is to medicate him before the shot and for 2-4 days after to keep the fever away. Not a complete solution in my mind.
To say that I am torn and confused would be an understatement. The memories of February are too fresh in my mind. No, that was not related to an immunization, but was caused by a fever. The MMR and Varicella are known to cause spikes in temperature, especially the MMR. I plan on giving him the MMR, but just am not sure if I want to do it within the next month. I know the risks of waiting, but I also know the danger of going ahead. I hate being put into this position and I resent it.
So why the rush on the doctor’s side? I asked her this. She said that he needs additional vaccines when he is 18 months and if the others are not done he will be behind. I understand that, but respectfully say – SO WHAT? There are people that will not vaccinate their children before their second birthday. I am not simply talking about the MMR, I mean any and all of them. They start to administer them at about that time. It has always been my plan to do the MMR between 18-24 months, but to see how the little guy is doing before making the determination. I thought this was acceptable with our doctor, but I guess not.
*sigh* I just do not want my baby in the hospital again like he was before.
That was the exciting part of what happened yesterday at the appointment, unless you count hog tying NHL for his two shots. I will update on the boys later on. Must go wipe a little nose again.
Oh that picture just makes my heart ache. So sweet but hospital tags NO FUN!
I hear you on this issue. Guess where we are going today? Of course we haven’t had any complications like you so it makes a it a little easier. I know how hard it is and I am so sorry that any of us parents have to be put in this position.
I am sure you will make the right decision for your little guy. Hugs…
I think the dr’s plan of starting him a few days early on a preventative course is smart.
With NHL heading back to school, all sorts of germs will be carried home. Reports are there are more and more cases of measles in the US being reported every year because of unvaxed kids.
With measles being so common here in Israel, I didn’t even think to delay Nati’s first shot. The DTaP booster, which is usually given at the same time was delayed by a few weeks.
Of course, thank God Nati doesn’t have J’s issues…
Mom you have those feelings for a reason- go with your gut- because in the end your the mom and that trumps Dr. :)
Have you thought about another doctor or maybe checking with a family nurse practitioner. I admit, I gave up on having my kids see “doctors” and take them to an FNP I used to work with. Best decisions ever. We’ve had similar conversations about vaccines and given any reactions are illness have spaced them out over a few months rather than do them all at once.
I do agree with you, I don’t know why they have to be given all at once. I’m worried about when W.W. turns 4 because there is a list of them he is supposed to get and I would prefer not to do it all at once.
Although, given the high fevers I think you have just cause to not double up on vaccines at one time. Get a second opinion if the doctor continues to argue with you. They are not always right even if they think they are.
I always say that you should follow what you feel is right. Sometimes too many vaccines can be just as dangerous.
Oh, poor little sweetie! I don’t know what I’d decide if I were you. I hope you feel peace about whatever you do. Whatever it is, just rest in the fact that based on what you know it is the best option for y’all.
I am currently wrestling with the vaccination issue. My son isn’t caught up. I, too, felt pressure from the doctor. I should probably try to find a different pediatrician who doesn’t mind delaying vaccines, but how do you do that? Call up and ask them their vaccine philosophy? It’s just not easy….
Poor baby–he loks so sweet in that picture. I can’t believe the doctor is giving you a hard time about this. Is it time to find a new doctor?
We delayed the MMR until after E.B. was two and I have no regrets. It’s definitely a personal decision and always trust your mommy instincts. I can’t believe the doc is being so pushy…our doc was very understanding but also told me he didn’t see a link to Autism and vaccines, but ultimately let me make the decision. Go with your gut.
I have just had this same conversation on my blog recently. Now if you give yoru child more than 1 shot in a a visit and he has a reaction HOW will the dr. know what he is reacting too? too many shots at once I think is overload for any baby’s immature immune and nervous system.
You are right not to giv ethem anything when they are sick or even with a runny nose. Only vaccinate when their immune system is not compromised.
Do what YOU feel is right for your children, you can always get a new doctor.