Tuesday, November 3, 2009


My poor baby boy had to get two more shots today. Adam had to take him because I have a workday at school today, so they were still at the house when I left this morning. When Adam called later in the morning he said that Zeke screamed his head off but then calmed down pretty quickly. He dropped him off at Mom's house for the day and gave him some Tylenol to help with the sore legs and potential fever, and Mom said he's acting totally normal now. He's not lethargic like he was the last time, and he's eating normally, too.

Now, here's my thing about vaccines. There are lots of people who are absolutely convinced that some vaccines can cause, aggravate, or trigger autism. Not one scientific study, though, has proven any remotely causal link between the two (see study summaries from the CDC). Autism appears to have both genetic and environmental factors (see http://www.autism-society.org/), and some vaccine ingredients (especially thimerosal) might contribute, but there's no evidence to suggest that vaccines are causal except in some very specific circumstances where a child had an underlying condition which predisposed him or her to autism and it was triggered by a vaccine component (see this article in Time).

Adam and I decided early on that the benefits of vaccinating far outweighed the risks and, since we intend for Zeke to go to public schools and not be homeschooled, we'd rather he have some protection from the hundreds of germy kids he'll be exposed to everyday. I do NOT think, however, that everyone who chooses not to vaccinate is an irresponsible parent. I'm not worried about your unvaccinated child because my child IS vaccinated and isn't susceptible to your germs. I'm vaccinated myself, so I'm not susceptible to your germs, either. If you've weighed the risks and have decided they're not worth it, fine by me. I'm just glad you're talking about it and actually educating yourself; someone who considers carefully and ultimately decides against the standard course of action (and what the medical establishment recommends, which is a whole other ball of wax since I'm not sure the recommendations are always as research-based as they are made out to be) is a far more responsible parent than someone who blindly goes along with the pediatrician's every mandate.

We've chosen to get all of the recommended vaccinations, but Zeke will be getting them on a more spread-out schedule. I just don't see the necessity of three shots and one oral vaccine at a time; if he reacts to something, how would we ever be able to figure out what it was?! Instead we're spreading them out and he'll never get more than two vaccines at a time.

If you're interested in reading more about vaccines, their components, possible side effects and reactions, and finding alternate vaccine administration schedules, see The Vaccine Book. I borrowed this book from a friend and found lots of detailed information that helped me make the best decision for my son. Also, the CDC has a page of vaccine information on its website.

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