Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Vaccine Choice

I took the kids in for their first well child check up since we've moved here. I wanted to make sure that we had a primary caregiver lined up before we actually NEEDED one. Besides that, SJ is two now, and for us that means it's time to start immunizations. With Z this was a very positive experience and I even saved the band aid and put it in his baby book. Unfortunately this time was not as happy go lucky.

We were very open with the Doctor about our choice to delay vaccines, but that we were ready to get started with SJ and continue on with Z, and were interested in doing that at this visit. So the Doctor said that she was fine with that and that we would make up a schedule, but that it would take some time because they won't be able to get all caught up in one day. Of course not, I said, the last thing I want is to give them a bunch of shots at once. And while, I thought she was going to come back with a chart for us to discuss a schedule like I did with our previous pediatrician instead a nurse came in with a bunch of papers with information on all the different shots (7 to be exact) they were going to get.

I said "no, no, no, no, no... who are these for?" and she said "your children, they are way behind and these are the immunizations that the doctor has ordered up for me to give to them." I tried to stay calm and explain that I was not interested in bombarding my children with a ton of shots all at once. She stated her stance about public schools. I said that they are not in day care or school. She asked if they went to church. I said yes they go to church [but last time I checked they do not exile children that are not up to date on their vaccines. And like our former physician said, an unvaccinated child is not a threat to vaccinated ones, so those that have had shots should not be concerned.] I didn't say all that, but what I did say was "I understand what you are trying to do, and I know that they are behind and it will take a long time for them to be caught up, but I am in no hurry and I feel comfortable starting with one for SJ and seeing how she handles it."

So we went through the shots that were prescribed one by one and I told her I didn't want them. SJ left having received the DTaP, which was the one I originally planned. The nurse was shocked because I turned down many vaccines that might seem less harmful, but I wanted this shot for the same reason I did with Z, which is to protect the new baby against pertussis and I like the kids to be up to date on tetanus as well.

I've watched a couple different Vaccine documentaries. One called Vaccines: what the CDC documents and science reveal and The Vaccine War that was featured on PBS. I read, and own, the book on Vaccines by Dr. Caves, along with countless articles from unbiased magazines. I've also read online articles by Dr. Miller and Dr. Sears. We've had several caregivers (from Texas, thank you very much) be involved in our delayed vaccine choices. I am grateful for vaccines and what they have done to eradicate many disease. It also seems to be that too much of a good thing can be dangerous. I am not an expert, but J and I do try to stay current on the information that is available to us and reevaluate our decision periodically, but what the nurse I dealt with yesterday may not realize, is that it is not a choice that we have made blindly. I am grateful to live in a country where, although it is the most vaccinated nation in the world, at least we are a free country where we have the right to choose and make informed decision. This is something I will continue to fight for so that my children and grandchildren will also have these rights no matter what!


Refrigerator Memories said...

Good job for standing your ground! I also delay shots. I can't believe they would have given that many shots at once!

Virginia (Jenny) said...

Wow, I'm sooo happy you posted this! I have completely stopped because I'm so scared and my first son had a very bad reaction. I'm not against it completely but just really need some guidance on it. Did you post suggestions on which ones to skip and which ones to delay? I'll have to check again.

Virginia (Jenny) said...

Oh, meant to tell you that doctors get $100 per shot they give your child so there is gonna be a lot of pressure there. So, if your child is given 4 shots that's $400. When you turn that down, they lose big money.

{amy} said...

Wow! What happened to the doctor making up a schedule?! That's craziness!!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, and your children will learn from you that you can be polite and respectful and say no to people in an authoritative position. When I had my 15 and 14 yr old sons they did not give as many shots so with #2 I delayed a little bit and with #3 I picked I think the Hib to give as an infant and then nothing else till age 2 and then he was perfectly caught up by kindergarten. In fact, it allowed him to not have an extra dose of something because of the delayed schedule. As a bonus they were so happy I was that way! In our house they knew before kindergarten they got some and then the summer before middle school they get some and ONLY what the school requires and NOT the latest that the doc chatted about. In fact, 5 yrs ago we left the pediatrician and we only go to the minute clinic to test for strep and ear aches and get sports physicals. They go to our internal medicine doc and she knows we only do the minimum required. My oldest are close in age and the summer that eldest got his pre-middle school age shots they asked if the middle son should get them too and I said no, he will wait till right before middle school--plus it helps this mom remember with that schedule! Hope all is well!
--Michele R.

lewiston said...

I'm so sorry it was stressful :( but you handled it well! You are doing what's best for your babies (which is different for each family) which makes you an excellent mama! :)