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Moms Talk: Weighing in on Child Vaccinations

A weekly dialogue about a hot topic in parenting.

One of the biggest debates in parenting these days is whether vaccinations should be required for children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses like hepatitis, tuberculosis, smallpox, measles, mumps – and more than 20 others – are preventable via vaccination. Traditional mainstream medical practices say that children should receive vaccinations at early ages, but some have begun to suggest links between those vaccinations and other serious health problems, including autism, and look for alternatives.

Although some of the research has been retracted, the debate continues on in the media with productions like this Frontline documentary attracting attention.

So this week, we ask the question: Where do you stand on the issue of mandatory child vaccinations? Should parents be able to choose to have their children vaccinated? Log in to Patch and comment below.

Kelly Campanella March 09, 2011 at 07:04 PM
This is a hard one for me to address easily. I have three biological children and a step-son. All of them have been vaccinated. My youngest was vaccinated but I spaced some of them out at my expense. My youngest was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (high functioning). Here is the short answer regarding my family...Do I believe his diagnosis is due to receiving his vaccines? No! I knew instinctively when I delivered my 5 year old that something was different but could not place my finger on it. Around the time I was pregnant with my last child I started hearing on the news and reading about "vaccines & autism" so I decided to do some research and educate myself a little more on vaccines so I could decide what to do when I delivered him and how to address the vaccine schedule with my daughter. I opted to space them out with my son and as my daughter was already two and had-had most I left her vaccine schedule alone. That is what I felt was best for my family as did my husband. I can't speak on what others should do or how they should approach the subject. They just need to do what is best for their family.
christine kellerman March 09, 2011 at 08:00 PM
I have 4 healthy children and they have all been vaccinated based on what my pediatrician told me was best for them. Over the years Im guessing they have had about 40 vaccines between them all, and none of them have ever had a problem. Being a mother doesnt mean being a specialist, and I have always felt that just reading up doesnt mean that we all of a sudden know all the answers. After 12 years of schooling and another 20 years of experience I leave it up to my pediatrican. If you dont trust your doctors opinions and choices for your children then you need to find a doctor you can trust.
Krista Ward March 09, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Like Kelly, this topic is difficult for me as well. I do believe that vaccinations are important... but I also think that the schedule is a bit too aggressive for such little bodies. I know that studies have shown that there isn't a link between Autism and vaccines, but I'm not 100% convinced that isn't true. My son followed the same schedule as my daughter and was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 17months. It wasn't until around 1 year that we began to notice that something was different. Believe it or not.. the flu shot put him over the edge and we lost him from there. His reaction was awful!! Now... I obviously cannot say for sure that the immunizations where the cause of him having Autism, but I will not rule out that his body might not have been able to handle the aggressive immunization schedule. My theory is that the overload triggered something in his central nervous system... as if his body just couldn't handle anymore. Again.. each case is different and all children are different. I really can only speak for my child. I have recently found a new pediatrician that will work with me on adjusting the vaccination schedule for my newborn. So.. I think that vaccinations are very important... My question is why is it so necessary to have them all before the age of two?? Autism and allergies are on the rise..... why?
Cheryl Donnelly March 09, 2011 at 08:53 PM
I respect that this is a very hot topic and one that is very personal for each and every family. I myself have vaccinated all of my children and like Christine I trusted my pediatrician and kept the kids on the schedule he suggested. This year I learned at a recent visit that the 1998 paper that linked vaccinations to autism was actually considered to be fraudulent: http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/06/study-linking-vaccines-to-autism-is-fraudulent/ I am concerned with how many parents were led to believe that vaccinations were harmful when in reality the diseases that we are preventing, mumps, measles, rubella killed children 100 years ago. The main issue I have is parents that choose not to vaccinate their children at all and then put my baby at risk. Yes, I understand that the thought is that my kids are vaccinated so why should i care what they choose to do. But what about the infants, 6 months and younger that are not protected from these diseases. What if my newborn son had come into contact with a deadly disease because of another parent's choice? The following article explains what I am referring to and three babies were affected. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/infectious-diseases/articles/2010/03/22/measles-outbreak-triggered-by-unvaccinated-child
Kelly Campanella March 09, 2011 at 09:33 PM
This is such a touchy subject and I almost did not respond this week because of the emotions that comes along with it. I would like to explain my comment about "reading up and educating myself" I never claimed to be an expert. But I have had to find my own specialists and doctors in dealing with my 5 year old. No one wanted to address why he wasn't walking at 18 months but me. No one wanted to address why he couldn't progress from stage 1 foods for nearly 2 years but me. No one wanted to address why he was a little off and not meeting developmental milestones but me. The "no one" I am referring too are the pediatricians I put my trust in when helping to treat my children. I was not a first time mom when my 3rd son was born. I have had to find my own specialists and pediatricians and not to support vaccinating or not...But to simply help treat my children and do what is best for them. So for my family simply taking a Doctors word for it isn't enough anymore. And, as I do not have a Medical Degree research and education are key...however, after being a parent for almost 16 years I have learned instinct is key as well.
Cheryl Donnelly March 10, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Kelly, I think we all do what is best for our children and I agree this is a touchy subject. I strongly support that everyone needs to do what is best for their family. The best thing that we as parents can do is to educate and inform ourselves and then it is our own personal business to do with the information we have. I think hearing from all sides of this issue is exactly what moms and dads need so they can be exposed to both sides of the fence on this.
Krista Ward March 10, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Yes... a touchy subject it is!! I almost jumped on Christine's post.... but quickly remembered that we all have our own experiences. Christine is blessed to have healthy children... truly blessed! It's extremely difficult for Kelly and myself because Western Medicine tends to throw their hands up in the air when it comes to Autism. Therefore, we've had no choice but to research and find other ways to help our children. It's an ongoing battle!!!
Cheryl Donnelly March 10, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Exactly Krista, I can never pretend to be in someone else's shoes. That is why when it comes to personal decisions the best we can do is be as informed as we can be and go from there.....
Laurie March 10, 2011 at 06:04 AM
I think the risks if someone catches the disease, especially in a community with a communicable disease like measles, are a lot more significant than hypothetical risks that no one can seem to prove.
Loes Lindsay March 10, 2011 at 09:33 PM
I think vaccinations have a purpose, but they are given too early and too closely spaced. With my 3rd, I had the doctor give one at a time and had at least 6 weeks between vaccines. I talked to a woman in the UK about spacing out the MMR which is not available here in the US but even if I got the vaccines here, my doc would not be able to give them because they are not FDA approved so she would lose her medical license. I think there is a lot of financial incentive based politics goig on somewhere. I ended up going to Austria and getting my 28 month old's MMR there with a milder (edmonson) strain of measles. My kids get bloodwork drawn for tigers before kindergarten to check immunity to avoid the booster of MMR that the schools want. #1 was immune, #2 is coming up this summer.
Cheryl Donnelly March 11, 2011 at 09:27 PM
Loes, What exactly do you mean that your kids get bloodwork drawn for tigers? All of the information you shared is very interesting. Do the schools allow the vaccinations from other countries. These are all interesting ideas for those that want to space out the vaccines due to legitimate concerns.
Krista Ward March 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Cheryl... A Titer Test can be is a blood test that can be ordered by your pediatrician to check if the child still has the antibodies from a specific immunization. For example, Mikey will be tested before Kindergarten to see if he still has the MMR antibodies. If he does, then I will not be required to give him the booster before the school year starts. He will however have to be tested every year to make sure he is still immunized. I believe that Titer tests cannot be preformed to test for all antibodies, but definitely for the larger ones like Polio, MMR and Chickenpox. I will tell you that the Pediatricians don't usually like this option because a child could lose the antibody sometime after a Titer Test if performed putting them in danger before the year is up.

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