Baby Vaccinations, Yay or Nay?

Baby Vaccinations, Yay or Nay?

A new child, whether your first or second or third… will always come with a new set of questions that each parent has to face. It can even be different from one child to the next because each child is amazingly different from another. But, one of the most important decisions that a parent can make for their child, and for their family, is the decision that has to be made about baby vaccines. Your OB, midwife, or doula are a great source of information if or when you are ready to ask the questions on your mind concerning vaccinations.

Beliefs about vaccines vary from person to person in different geological locations and cultures, but how do you know what is right for your child and your family? There are many who believe very strongly one way or another, but there are many parents that are on the fence. There are no federal laws in place that state that vaccinations are a must, but every state has laws that require certain immunizations before a child can enter the public school system.

What are baby vaccines for?
From the time your child is born until they are six years old, the CDC recommends 29 doses of 9 vaccines. This seems like it would be too much, but these immunizations help protect your child from serious diseases by helping them develop an immunity, or protection, against these diseases before they come in contact with them.

Why are vaccinations a part of regular baby care?
Even a perfectly healthy baby’s immune system is quite weak. They are at an increased risk for infections, which include diseases, because their tiny bodies have not yet had the chance to build up their body’s defense against such infections. Vaccines are meant to help build that immunity against diseases that may not be deadly to an adult, but they can be dangerous to young children.

Why do some vaccines require more than one dose?
Sometimes it takes more than one dose to build up enough immunity to protect your child against the disease that the vaccine is for. And, for some, like the flu vaccine, its protection can fade over time. A good example would be of exposing your child to every day germs such as letting them get “dirty” from normal play versus making sure they are “squeaky clean” all of the time. Unless the child has allergies, their immune system becomes stronger as their bodies build their own defenses against germs found everywhere around them.

What are the vaccines that are recommended as part of regular baby care?

Birth:
Hepatitis B

2 Months:
2nd dose of Hepatitis B
Rotavirus
Diphtheria / tetanus / pertussis (DTaP)
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Pneumococcal
Polio

4 Months:
2nd dose Rotavirus
2nd dose DtaP
2nd dose Hib
2nd dose Pneumococcal
2nd dose Polio

6 Months:
3rd dose Hepatitis B
3rd dose Rotavirus, but depending on the type, the 3rd dose may be omitted.
3rd dose DtaP
3rd dose Hib
3rd dose Pneumococcal
3rd dose Polio
1st dose Influenza (two doses one month apart, then one each year)

12 Months:
4th dose Hib
4th dose Pneumococcal
Varicella (chickenpox)
1st dose Measles / mumps / rubella (MMR)
1st dose Hepatitis A (two doses six months apart)

15 Months:
4th dose DtaP

4 to 6 Years Old:
One booster dose of the following:
Dtap
Polio
MMR
Varicella

Pros and Cons

Pros for getting your child vaccinated
-Vaccinations are believed to be the best protection against dangerous and infectious diseases
-Vaccinations help protect the people who associate with the vaccinated person who has been vaccinated against the disease
-Side effects are rare
-Vaccinations are considered to be among the safest kinds of medications a child can receive
-It is considered a child’s right to be vaccinated

Cons for getting your child vaccinated
-Vaccinations are capable of being the cause of severe and potentially dangerous side effects
-Vaccination trials are almost exclusively performed by the companies that manufacture the vaccination itself
-There are very few independent vaccine trials
-There seems to be few vaccination trials that have unfavorable results that are actually made available to the public
-The formation of antibodies is equated with vaccination protection, which may not actually hold true
-Many believe that vaccinations are a business that is based on the fear of sickness rather than curing the sickness itself

As you can see, there are strong beliefs for and against vaccinations. There are state laws requiring that children have certain immunizations before they enter the public school system, but many of them also allow the parent to provide proof or backed reason for their child not having one or more vaccinations. If you have questions, it is best if you speak to your healthcare provider whether it is your OB, midwife, or doula. Talk it over with your partner. This is an important decision that will affect your child’s health, and the health of your entire family.