Is a Modified Immunization Schedule Safe for Your Baby?
Many parents feel concerned about the seemingly vast number of inoculations a child has to go through, especially in the first two years. It is natural for parents to feel concerned and wonder about the efficacy and need for all these injections.
As your child's caregiver, you are perfectly within your rights to ask your child's pediatrician about your baby's immunization schedule and whether it is appropriate for your child. Before asking questions though, it would be a good idea to update yourself on the current Immunization Schedule for Children.
The following are some common parental concerns about vaccinations.
- Is my baby getting too many shots? Can they be spaced out a little more?
The immunization schedule is especially designed to fit the needs of all healthy children (one-schedule-fits-all approach). Today's babies are vaccinated against 14 diseases, with many vaccines requiring booster shots to be effective.
The immunization schedule has been made keeping in mind the optimal time for vaccines to be introduced to a baby. The schedule is designed to administer the vaccine at the point when your baby's immune system is old enough to accept it and not young enough to still be protected by the mother's antibodies.
- Is there any way to reduce the pain and resultant trauma from injections?
The pain of the injection can be reduced or eliminated by applying a small amount of a cream called EMLA, an anesthetic which numbs the area it is applied on, and by cuddling or nursing your baby right afterward.
- Is my child being exposed to harmful viruses during inoculations?
Consider this: children are exposed to more germs while crawling, eating mud, and putting toys in their mouth than they are while getting vaccines!
- What are the dangers of not vaccinating my child? Can the disease re-enter society?
Not vaccinating your child may not only put your own child at risk, but it also endangers other children who might catch contagious diseases from your kid. Diseases have been documented to re-enter society even if one child stays unvaccinated. This is because even one contagious child can carry the contagion to others, thus exposing and infecting them.
- When is a modified immunization schedule safe for my child?
While the above schedule works for most children, there are some conditions where children might need an altered schedule or might need to completely forego a particular vaccine. These conditions are:
- Allergy to a particular vaccine ingredient
- Weak immune system
- Chronic or debilitating illness
Please note that despite media furor over the issue, no medical link has ever been found between autism and vaccinations. Vaccines are not responsible for autism.
The most useful way in which parents can address fears about immunizations is by reading up and staying informed and educated about vaccines and their benefits. Parents can start researching by reading this and reading the CDC's Catch-up Schedule for more information.