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Joined: 06/05/06
Posts: 61

What are your thoughts and experiences on vaccinations and dealing with not vaccinating? We've always just done them on schedule with both DDs, but the more I research the more they scare me. We've only had one (known) issue with the vaccines - with DD2 and the chicken pox vaccine. She had a minor rash/breakout at the site of the shot. I've heard some things about how kids have some serious reactions to them, but not having any issues, I'm wondering if it's worth not vaccinating to have to deal with the paperwork with schools and the pediatrician and such.

faeriecurls's picture
Joined: 06/04/08
Posts: 790

I personally was not vaccinated until I was almost 17. I have some family/personal medical history that has me very concerned about vaccinating my daughter when she is born and following the current schedule. I have been discussing it with several people and have discussed it with all of the peds we have interviewed. All but one of them think that due to my medical history it will probably be safer for us to delay, separate and selectively vaccinate. I am also okay with not vaccinating at all - DH and I are still discussing what we will do. We have both agreed she won't get anything right away and probably won't until she is older.

I have also worked with a child who had a vaccine injury and it is pretty awful - he now has significant immune issues and possible some neurological disorders along with a host of other medical issues that he did not have as an infant/toddler. I'm not saying that it is the norm by any means - but it is very scary and really difficult for his parents.

As far as schools go - it depends on the state that you live in. All states have medical exemptions, but that doesn't work unless your doctor is on board and sees a valid medical reason not to vaccinate. Most states have religious exemptions available as well - this is tricky area, depending on the state you live in - in my state it is much more difficult to obtain a religious exemption than in a lot of other states. There are also a handful of states that offer a philosophical exemption. You should look into what your state offers and then go from there. In most states it is also possible to do a selective schedule, but there are some (like mine) that are all or nothing states - so it becomes much more difficult. This website lists types of exemptions by state

If you chose to do a delayed schedule - be careful you don't rush to get all the shots you plan on getting in a short period of time, which can overload the system. Also take into account any allergies your LO has - there are a lot of common allergens (eggs, peanuts) in vaccines that can be a problem for people.

Whatever you chose, make sure you have a supportive doctor. I know that in my area it is very difficult to find a ped who will discuss it with you instead of just forcing you to comply with the AAP schedule. In a lot of practices they will actually kick you out if you don't follow. It took us a while to find a doctor who would actually have a discussion with us.

Good luck making your decision.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Thanks for that link, Erica. It's pretty easy to get out of immunizing in AZ but we'll likely be moving back east at some point so it'll be good to keep all the different state requirements in mind.

AFM. Had I not taken an Immunology course in college I'd be far more anti-immunizing than I am currently. We learned so much about the history of vaccines, their life-saving benefits and disastrous side-effects. We also learned a great deal about the devastating effects of diseases like Polio. For the most part, I'm more worried about the preservatives in vaccines than I am about the immuno-reactive component. IMO, we just don't know enough about the effects of preservatives to conclusively say they are safe. Thimerosal in particular is something we're very careful with in my lab so why on earth would I inject it into my baby. Most vaccines do not contain thimerosal anymore but some flu vaccines do.

We'd like to spread out our baby's vaccine schedule. That way, reactions can be pinned to a particular vaccine (and possibly component). I believe chicken pox are more of an annoyance than anything and the vaccine hasn't been around for decades like so many others so we'll be skipping that one. Neither I nor my DH have ever been vaccinated for the flu. I've never had the flu and I've got some personal issues against it as the stupid Swine flu nearly destroyed my Mexican destination wedding. I'm still up in the air about that one. I'm hoping to find a good pediatrician to help us make informed decisions.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Erin, that's pretty much exactly how I feel about the whole thing. Our pediatrician is the one most recommended by the birth center (first name I got from every midwife and nurse I asked) and he does recommend the schedule but is 100% open to alternative scheduling and even skipping. I do think I'm going to have to do a lot of research and just come with specific questions, but they are very laid back and open to communicating and working with parents. At this point I just said I didn't want anything done right at birth and they said no problem and that was that. Still need to do my reading on what and when we do want things done. I don't entirely want to skip everything but definitely want to spread things out and make informed decisions on individual shots.

Illiana's picture
Joined: 09/29/05
Posts: 338

I decline them for my kids personally but believe that if you are going to do them, do it on a delayed schedule and separate them as much as possible.

DD isn't in school yet but we're in the process of putting her in and all that was required (for daycare and public school) was a handwritten note from me saying why she was not up to date on her shots.. "I do not vaccinate due to religious reasons" that was the extent of my letter.. I've never been questioned. She is also on state funded medi-caid program. They have also never questioned it.

I know that some states are more difficult to deal with but any state that has a religious exemption shouldn't be too hard to handle. They can't legally question your religion or make you explain it (and if they do its not hard to come up with a religious reason... ie God made us perfect and altering that state by injecting chemicals/diseases into myself or my child is against my religious beliefs).

I was never vaccinated as a child and the few diseases I did get were never bad and usually healed quick. I would look at the risks of the diseases and the risks of the vaccinations and see which you would rather deal with.. Chances are they won't get the disease or have side effects but thats just a chance.. Personally I'd rather risk the diseases, but thats me. Also look at personal lifestyle.. Do you travel to foriegn countries alot where dieases are rammpant? Do you live in an area where a certain disease is common? Etc.


Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

We have yet to vaccinate either DD. Mostly because both are breastfed (even DD1 still) and neither are in any kind of day care. We eat healthily and supplement with vitamins where needed. I've researched the vaxes that would be going into my kids' and have decided to relook at the issue before DD1 goes to school.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

I do vaccinate. I don't completely follow the schedule, but I mostly follow it. The doctor's offices have justhad me sign for the shots when I give them. Since we moved here, I occasionally get letters in the mail from the saying "Our records indicate that your child may be missing one or more vaccinations...blah, blah, blah" (I never got these when we lived in AZ)

One of my friends doesn't vaccinate, but she doesn't take her kids to a pediatrician for well child checks, either. She homeschools, but her daughter did go to public school briefly before she decided to homeschool, and she just had to sign a waiver.

jolly11sd's picture
Joined: 02/02/05
Posts: 3327

We signed waivers for our DS when he was enrolled in preschool. I didn't do any vaccinations for him until he was closer to 2 and even now, at almost 5, he only has about 2 that were done. I'm not really looking to do more at this point and homeschool him even though its easy to deal with the waiver in my state. For DS #2 we will not vaccinate at all until I feel any need to do it and even then it would be limited.

Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 621

DS has had no vaccinations yet. I didn't start out to come this far before starting, but now I want to continue to at least 3 years old. I'm not anti-vax necessarily, but still haven't come to a comfortable level yet.

The reason we are waiting until 3 is that then DS won't have to get as many shots b/c of the boosters. So far he has been at home, no daycare and was BF until just a couple months ago (this is one of the reasons this topic has come up with DH and I. We feel he's not as protected anymore!). We want to enroll him in a part time preschool, but honestly, we're thinking of waiting until age 3 to avoid unnecessary shots.

CaBlondie918's picture
Joined: 01/27/07
Posts: 260

DD#1 has been vaccinated pretty much via- the schedule. We did deny the first dose of Hep B because if I didn't need to get it until middle school there was no way I was going to allow them to give it to my newborn. Because of scheduling though DD's vax have been a month or so late. We did do the chicken pox and she didn't have any reaction... she didn't have any reactions to any of the vax so we're going to go the same route with this next one. The flu shot however, DD#1 did get, not the swine flu one, and she didn't have any symptoms. From here on out though, we probably would be doing flu vax, I never get one, the one year DH got one he ended up with the flu, so it's just easier to say no.

We have a great pedi that never was pushy about any of the vax and we'll actually be going for DD's 3-year appointment in a few weeks whenever I make it to discuss what needs to be done after this LO is born, since we're planning a homebirth I need to know when they'd want me to bring her in for a check-up since we won't be using an on-call hospital pedi.

Joined: 06/05/06
Posts: 61

Thank you, everyone, for your replies! It definitely gives me a better idea of the options I have. I would just hate for my current pediatrician to not support me if I decide to not vaccinate or do a delayed schedule.

For those who did delayed scheduling, what is the benefit of it? And does anyone know why the current schedule is recommended?

DJMandyB's picture
Joined: 10/18/07
Posts: 68

We vaccinate but we do it on a schedule that spaces them out so we would know exactly what an adverse reaction would be attributed to.

Part of our decision making is based off of where we live and what our baby is likely to be exposed to. So, Hep B would be put off because hes not going to be exposed to it now but there has been a 500% increase in cases of whooping cough in our area so DTaP is on schedule. You can get outbreak info from your county's health department.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

Some people choose to space out the shot because they are exposing the child to less of what's in the shots at once, and if there is a reaction, they better know what caused it. Some people choose to delay some or all shots until the child's system is more developed.

A good book to read is The Vaccine Book by Dr. Bob Sears. He tells all about the diseases, what's in the shots, etc. But after you read it, I'd also look up some reponses to his theories about aluminum, because there are some out there.

faeriecurls's picture
Joined: 06/04/08
Posts: 790

We are choosing to delay for now and most likely do a separated and selective schedule because of my family history. I have had bad reactions to vaccines and there are auto-immune & neurological disorders on my side, plus a significant number of allergies to medicines and other substances which we discussed with the pediatrician we are going to use. He was also concerned so we will do things slowly and differently.

I also recommend the Sears book.

TyrantOfTheWeek's picture
Joined: 12/26/05
Posts: 1147

I vaccinate on schedule, except for the flu shot. They say you can't get the flu from the shot, but almost everyone that I know personally that has gotten the shot has gotten sick from it.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

For Tiven, we did a delayed schedule, starting at 6 months, and she never had more than two shots at a time. She was breastfed for a long time & wasn't in daycare, so we were tempted to not vaccinate her at all before she started school, but we live in a large city with a large tourism industry, and we ride public transit all the time, so vaccinating really makes sense for us. We didn't vaccinate her at all for HepB & something else that I can't remember, but we did get the chickenpox vaccine before Weston was born since she was starting school. Weston is being vaccinated pretty much on schedule, although we're still skipping the HepB & whatever else, because he's now being exposed to 220 public school kids every day through Tiven.

We always get the flu shot for everyone. We've never gotten sick from the flu shot, but last year, DH & Tiven both had to get the FluMist, which is a live virus, and they did both get sick for a day or two from it. But it was nothing like getting the flu for real! I had co-workers who were out with the flu for three weeks.

Our school district you can sign a "philosophical waiver" for any vaccine, but if there's an epidemic they will make you keep your child home.