Fact Or Fiction
Parents enjoy the freedom to tailor all aspects of our daily lives. We get to customize our coffee with almond milk, half foam, and sugar-free vanilla syrup. We even get to choose when we watch our favorite TV shows, thanks to the marvels of modern technology.
Some parents would like the same control over their child's vaccine schedule, but the choice to spread out or delay vaccines is not without risk.
A lot of thought and science goes into determining the current recommended vaccine schedule. Doctors and health experts select what vaccines to give at what times based on the amount of risk a child has to a particular disease. We vaccinate young babies because they are most vulnerable to disease in infancy.
Parents who seek a "compromise" to the vaccine schedule may have heard of Dr. Bob Sears’s The Vaccine Book. In the book, Dr. Sears has created an “optional” vaccine schedule for parents to customize their child’s recommended vaccine schedule with an "alternative" vaccine schedule.
There is no medical benefit in spreading out vaccines. The alternative or delayed vaccine schedule will not decrease adverse reactions. In fact, research shows that delaying the measles vaccine until after a child is 15 months old may raise his or her seizure risk.
On the delayed schedule, children will have only received immunity against eight diseases by 15 months of age. They miss out on measles, rubella, chickenpox, Hep A, and Hep B. By 15 months, children on this delayed schedule are given 17 shots and visit the doctor’s office 9 times - almost twice as many visits to the doctor as compared to the CDC schedule.
In comparison, when a child is vaccinated by the CDC's tried and tested vaccine schedule, that child will have immunity to over 14 diseases by the age of two!
With the CDC recommended schedule, babies visit their doctor five times in the first 15 months and receive protection against up to 14 diseases in as little as 18 shots if using combination vaccines, or as many as 26 shots if using individual antigens.
Delaying your child's vaccines will only increase the number of vaccines and office visits and the amount of time your child is vulnerable to disease. Besides, just think about the unnecessary illnesses you'll expose your child to every time you have to sit in the pediatrician’s waiting room.
To read a more detailed perspective about the problems with Dr. Sears’s schedule, check out this Pediatrics article by Dr. Paul Offit and Charlotte Moser.