There is a lot of fear and confusion surrounding children’s vaccinations today.
Vaccinations serve a dual purpose in our society. They are used to protect the individual child, and they are also used to protect the larger population also from the vaccine-preventable disease.
From a public health perspective, childhood death rates have dropped tremendously since the mandatory vaccination schedule was developed between 1900 and the 1960s.
This is a huge step forward for children’s health and safety. If a child is vaccinated they are protected from the vaccinated disease and they cannot pass it to their classmates or peers.
So the protection is not just for the child but for the community and larger population as well. This is called herd immunity.
This is why so many doctors are strong proponents of vaccination and the standard CDC vaccination schedule. Since there has not been any research in this country about altering the vaccination schedule, many physicians see no need to change it.
People who are concerned about vaccination for our children usually don’t argue about whether or not there are benefits to a vaccination process. Their concern is usually about the number of vaccinations that children receive beginning at birth.
The CDC vaccination schedule recommends 25 vaccinations during the first 15 months of life. During a single visit a child may have up to five shots at once.
The controversy starts here. Parents fear that having that many shots at such a young age may have a negative impact on the child’s nervous and/or immune system.
Medical research is divided as to whether there are studies that can substantiate detrimental and lasting effects on children.
There is a separate issue that some of the chemicals used to preserve the vaccinations could also be causing harm to children as well.
With all of this controversy, parents are left wondering what is best for their children.
One solution comes from Dr. Robert Sears, who suggests that children should have vaccinations but on an alternate schedule of vaccination that would complete at age six, instead of at 15 months.
He also suggests a reduced vaccination schedule with less total vaccinations for children. It is a compromise for children and parents.
I think it is a great option to support the health and growth of the child’s nervous and immune system.
It is true that other countries do have vaccination schedules that extend longer than the U.S. schedule.
Still there are doctors that will not honor Dr. Sear’s schedule.
Ultimately, parents best option is to get educated on the pros and cons for vaccinations, because there are pros and cons.
Parents can consider an alternative schedule as a compromise and work with their pediatrician to support the health of their children and the community as a whole.