Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vaccination Horror

When Marlee was born, Michael and I made the decision together to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended immunization schedule. I was well aware that the topic was controversial, but (in a manner so unlike me) I just went with it...because it's the way it's done. I know, I know, SO not me. As the months have gone on, I've done a bit of reading. I decided that I will selectively vaccinate MJ going forward. She's breastfed and stays home with me, so I'm very comfortable in this decision. That's not the point of this post though. It's just background.

I went to the pediatrician to pick up her immunization schedule to compare what she's had to the schedule I've planned so that we can move forward. Here's what I discovered.

The AAP recommends HIB at 2, 4 and 6. She had it at 2 and 4. One missed vaccine. I've chosen to do HIB on schedule...when would this mistake have been found if I didn't start digging?

Then there's HepB. When MJ was just hours old, the nurse came in and said, "We're taking her to the nursery for the Hepatitis B vaccine." I said, "No, thank you. We'll do it at her first pediatrician appointment." I didn't want my baby stuck with anything her first day of life (I also declined Vitamin K injection). So when we took her to the doc at 3 days old, she had her first HepB shot.

Had I given any thought to this at the beginning, she would never have had that shot or any others of that particular vax until age 12. I'm not sure why my baby is vaccinated against a disease that is contracted through sex or shared needles. Granted, she's not in my sight 24 hours a day, but I'm thinking we're okay on this one.

Here's what is making me sick. Not only has she had this vax, which I personally see as unnecessary, she's had too many doses. Her doctors office uses both a 3 and 4 injection series. There was some confusion, and she was given the 3 series then the 4th from the other series.

I am so upset with myself, there are not words. Each appointment, I signed the form acknowledging the shots my baby was getting. I signed that form, not knowing what it meant. I assumed that the doctors and nurses were doing what was best for her.

I pride myself on the fact that I'm very well educated in many aspects of raising my child. How did I let this happen? How did I not know what she should get at each appointment? How did I not know which vaccines were absolutely necessary? What they contain? Which brands are considered safer? Which brand are they using? What are the risks? What are the benefits? AGH! How did I not educate myself about something as important as foreign substances being injected into my child?

The point of this entry is not to judge anyone for adhering to any particular schedule. It's just to urge you all to learn a bit about vaccines. Go to each appointment knowing what shots your baby should be getting, and make sure those are the ones she gets.

An interesting parting factoid: As children, we (my generation) got 18 vaccines. Children today get 50.


Melissa said...

Oh no! Is this the same Ped you were having trouble with earlier?

I did vax J on schedule, but our next one won't be. (especially if it's a boy. NOT that I am making some announcement here. The research I have done is just too inconclusive for me to think anything other than, "We'll wait.) However.... the reason I had J vaccinated on time was because of where I live. We have a very high immigrant population *AND* truth be told, a higher illegal population. And yes, I BF, but I also went to the grocery store, Goodwill, church, Chick Fil A... the thought of her getting sick from something I could have prevented... I shudder to think about.

The Vitamin K and Hep B shot I am going to research more. I had to do Hep B when I started work... that hurt like hell!

kbreints said...

Wow! Not that I am all that much "up" on the Vacc. but my doctor is really good abot explaining every one and answering questions. Giving me informational sheets to read about them and I have the card with all of the vaccinations for both boys with me.

50? I think that sounds high.... I thinkt that I will do some of my own checking now.... crazy!

Renee said...

M & K,

I rec the Dr. Sears Vaccine Book. He's pretty pro-vax, but the information is good. He also offers alternative (every vax given, spaced out) or selective (not every vax) schedules.

charlie&gracie said...

I highly recommend dr. sears book too.I just got it and love it. I really don't feel like he tells you either way what to do. He breaks down each shot, what's in it, what is contraversial about it, tells you why some people don't get it, tells you why you should (if he thinks you should) and he gives a great delaying schedule. i bought it on amazon for like $8, totally worth the money!

Angela said...

We declined pretty much everything at the hospital for both kids, hep, vitK, and even the eye goo--and of course the big "c" for the boy. But, when it comes to the meat and potatoes of vaccines, I've always been a bit overwhelmed with the data. Like you were, I've just gone along with the vac schedule...I'd love to know the reasons for waiting.