By Katie Moosbrugger

The topic of whether or not to vaccinate a child – or putting children on our own vaccination schedules – is one that intrigues me. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the topic to write a fair blog which is why I hope to generate comments and conversation with today’s Whatcha Think column.

I am a total by-the-book kind of mom. If my doctor tells me my child needs X, Y and Z shots on certain dates – all at one time – and again in a couple of years – I’m like, “Sure, sounds good. Whatever you say!” The thought of intervening in a medically established routine scares me. Even though I’ve heard many reports saying vaccination schedules are not a “one fits all” type of requirement – as well as the concerns about certain shots causing certain negative outcomes – I have always gone along with what my doctor tells me because, frankly, I don’t trust myself to make these kinds of decisions.

That’s why I’d love for you to weigh in. Please leave a comment and let us know which side of the debate you stand on and why. To get the conversation started, I have Pros and Cons and questions below.

(I’m not suggesting the following Pros and Cons are facts…just statements I have found through research)

Vaccination Pros
~ A child’s immune system is more vulnerable without vaccinations.
~ Diseases once thought to be eradicated are coming back because children are not being vaccinated like they used to be.
~ The trend of delaying or skipping vaccinations puts children across the country at risk for several diseases
~ If a child is unvaccinated, he may require special medical treatment when visiting a hospital, yet medical staff may not be experienced with the appropriate procedures.
~ Your child runs the risk of being socially excluded – and sometimes quarantined – if there is an outbreak of a disease and your child is not immune to it.

Vaccinations Cons
~ There is no real reason to give a Hepatitis B shot to an infant before they are discharged from hospital, since Hepatitus B is typically contracted via sex, or sharing needles razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.
~ Not all diseases, like chicken pox, are detrimental and require a vaccination
~ Some children could be immune to certain diseases (thus not needing a vaccination at all), and that information could be found by checking antibodies in the blood. However, simple checks like that are not routine.
~ Many feel the CDC schedule of vaccinations is not spread out enough over time
~ Some vaccinations (like MMR and DTaP) can be split up (instead of combined) and are available as separate injections.

Like I said above, this topic intrigues me because there are so many times when you need to turn in your child’s vaccination schedule in order to attend school, camp, and for other outings or occasions. If you don’t vaccinate your child – or if you choose your own vaccination schedule – how is your child able to participate in some of these activities? A friend told me a simple letter from the parent excuses the child from the vaccination requirements. But then why is the vaccination schedule required in the first place?

Let us know “Whatcha Think!”
~ Which side of the vaccination debate are you on, and why?
~ Did you put your child on your own schedule? If so, why?
~ Do you stick strictly to your pediatrician’s schedule? If so why?
~ If you do follow your own schedule, where do you find your medical information?
~ If you do follow your own schedule, have you ever received negative or unfair medical or social consequences?
~ If you are a parent AND a medical professional, please weigh in with your thoughts on this debate too. I’d especially love to hear your perspective on this topic .
~ Despite which side of the debate you are on, do you still have concerns and fears about the schedule – or dosage – you are following (whether it’s your own schedule or your doctor’s schedule)?

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