Tuesday, November 27, 2007

newborn vaccines #2

*05/16/08 UPDATE* I've since written several new posts about Thumper's vaccination schedule and well as new thoughts on what I want to get. Please see the newer posts if you want to see the final schedule I came up with.

I finally finished my research on vaccines. And here's what I found and what we might do. Will write up on what actually happens after our ped appointment today.

First, I highly recommend The Vaccine Book by Dr Bob Sears. He goes through all the vaccines one by one, tells you what each one treats, how prevalent it is, the ingredients, pros and cons of each vaccine, travel considerations, and lastly, his take on the vaccine. He also gives an alternative schedule, discusses all the concerns about the vaccine, and some Q&A.

My second source of info was the CDC Vaccination Schedule The nice thing about this site is that it gives the vaccination schedule for your whole life and also lists, on its footnotes, more detailed info about each vaccine like minimum age given.

Basically, for first 6 months, there are these vaccines:
  • Rotavirus
  • HIB
  • Pc
  • Polio
  • DTaP
  • Hep B
And the schedule as recommended by CDC is as follows:
  • Birth: Hep B
  • 1 month: Hep B
  • 2 months: Rota, DTaP, HIB, Pc, Polio
  • 4 months: Rota, DTaP, HIB, Pc, Polio
  • 6 months: Rota, DTaP, HIB, Pc, Hep B
The schedule after 6 months is kind of varied. It could be:
  • 12 months: MMR, chickenpox
  • 15 months: Pc, HIB, DTaP
  • 12 - 24 months: Hep A
Here's what I found out about vaccines
  • Some diseases (HIB, Pc, Rota) really only most commonly to kids under age 2, with most severe reactions under the age of 1. It can go up to age 5. But that's about it.
  • You're bound to catch the Rotavirus. It's a matter of when, not if
  • Your likelyhood of catching some of these diseases or have more severe forms of it is lower if you breastfeed for more than 1 year (Dr Sears recommended 2!), and you don't go to Daycare. I think this is especially true of Rota and Pc
  • You can stop a series and start it up again w/o redoing the whole series of shots.
  • You CAN delay shots, sometimes this means you don't have to get as many. You cannot do that with the Rotavirus vaccine though.
  • Vaccines have a bunch of weird stuff in it that some parents may be opposed to. The big ones are mercury, alumninum, and animal parts.
  • Polio, HIB aren't that prevalent any more.
  • These vaccines are really only good for childhood, where it'll cause the most problems. That's why you have to get booster shots as teenagers and adults.
  • DTaP, HIB, Hep B have multiple vendors, with aluminum levels ranging from 0 to pretty high.
  • If you delay vaccines, you could lower the number of shots you take! You would just have to weigh that against the time of likelihood occurance.
Since mercury is no longer in all vaccines, except for flu shots, Dr Sears didn't talk about it much. He spent a lot of time talking about aluminum. There is some evidence that aluminum causes neurological damage to premies. And the government limits aluminum to 25 micrograms in IVs. Part of the reason it's now showing up as a concern is that we now have more vaccinations. It used to be just DTaP that had aluminum. But we've since added the Hep B, Pc, HPV, and HIB vaccines.

Here's what I decided.

This is based on the fact that we'll be traveling next year, and we may travel to Taiwan in the future. Plus the fact that I'll breastfeed as long as I can and that Thumper won't be in daycare till she's 10 months at the earliest. My 3 goals were to delay shots if possible, get the ones w/ least aluminum, and only get the ones that are really necessary.

For sure we'll get DTaP & Polio today. We really don't need polio because it's considered wiped out but since it has no aluminum and who knows what weird countries we'll travel to when she's young, might as well get it. DTaP is important for the P part, which is whooping cough. It's still pretty prevalent, and you can't just get a single P shot, it's always a combination shot.

We will definitely get Hep B because Taiwan is endemic. Otherwise it's a disease that doesn't occur till teenage years in the US. (Since mostly sexually transmitted here). Though kids do bite and can transmit that. I will ask about getting a combo shot of Hep B + HIB since same amount of aluminum in the combo shot. So might as well get the HIB one, even if it's rare now. For this one, since I won't go to Taiwan for awhile, I'll ask about delaying the shots till past 6 months. This way she'll only need 3 HIB shots instead of 4!

When I asked my pediatrician about the Rotavirus, Pc, and HIB, I was told that Rotavirus is one of the newer ones and if there is one I want to skip, that would be the one. Rotavirus is pretty new. There was a problem w/ the last one a few years ago in causing your intestines to twist in weird ways.

It's important to note my peds have no problems w/ no vaccines. The pediatrician said she hasn't seen HIB ever since she practiced medicine though has seen Pc. Combined with the fact that Pc strains are more likely to be resistant to antibiotics AND those ones are coming out of Asia, where I will be traveling, I think I will be getting the Pc but passing on the Rotavirus. I don't want the baby to get Pc and then needing to go to hospital and having IVs and who knows what other medicine pumped into her.

I didn't even research the vaccines you get AFTER 1st year, like chickenpox and MMR. I'll leave that worrying for another day!


Future NY Dad said...

Thanks for the info. I myself am doing research on this and will look into the book you recommended.

I unfortunately live in NY, where the state mandates you get DTaP, Polio, TDap, MMR, Hep B, and Vermicelli before your child can enter school. They also recommend Hib and PCV, but do not require them.

Thus far in my research, my view on each is this:

Polio - Will get it as I've found no major problems with it.

MMR - Will get it (though my wife has heard problems and wants to do more research)

Hib and PcV - Not sure yet. Good health practices and healthy eating can help prevent pneumonia, but the meningitis… who knows. I still need to read more about these.

DTaP - I have found case studies and various accounts that show a possible link to neurological issues or development issues. From what I've read its the P in the DTaP. We are trying to research as to how long we can delay in giving this to our child. We would like to wait as long as possible to avoid any neurological issues. We also found there is a DT vaccine without the P, but do not know if we can do this and still send our child to school in NY.

Roto - A friend of ours had her 3 children inoculated against it and they have all since had the illness itself so we will not be getting this.

Heb B – Not required until 7th grade for NYS. Since Heb B is contracted through IVs, needles and sex (which I don’t forsee my newborn doing), we would like to hold off on this one as well.

Vermicelli (Chicken Pox) – I would assume just give my child the chicken pox at a young age. I would rather deal with an unhappy child for a week than possibly inject them with other chemicals. I feel the immunity they would build up themselves would far surpass any vaccine.

My wife will be breastfeeding and is current on her Vaxs. She has had Roto, pneumonia, mono, chickenpox as well as other common illnesses, so we’re not to worried about out child getting illnesses from our house.

Thanks for the post. It was good to read.

Smurfett said...

I need to write a followup to my vaccine post, based on my 6 month checkup. I've got lots to say about what you said!

The two things I'd comment here is that HepB can be transmitted by biting. So if you live in an area w/ lots of recent immigrants from countries with high HepB rates, and you're sending your kid to daycare, you might want to get that. Cuz kids bite.

Secondly, CA is also a state that requires you to vaccinate your children before you enter school. There's a website (i'll find that link and post it) that gives you specific rules in the states. For CA, I know you can opt out for religious reasons, or show proof that your kid has the antibodies? Not quite sure. Must research more on this.

Valerie said...

Smurfett, can you post the link re: possile CA opt out?

Smurfett said...

Hi Valerie

Please see my latest post where I listed all the links I've collected. One of them is the link to that website. There are actually a lot of websites out there on exemptions and requirements. A google search will lead the way. But I liked this site the best as it's in plain English.

Anonymous said...

Hello... You make a comment that HIB and Polio are prevalent anymore. Do you realize that they are not prevalent because of vaccines?

Smurfett said...

Well Duh, of course. I'm not against vaccines. I'm just against getting them all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Vaccines are their own worst enemy. The reason a majority of the vaccine diseases are no longer prevelant in the US is because they work.
Chicken Pox:
Not getting vaccinated for chicken pox was "maybe" fine when you got it as a kid as a wild type. (I say maybe because multiple children died every year as a consequence of the disease.)
Unfortunately wild type chicken pox is going to progressively become a thing of the past as most illnesses do when children are vaccinated.
If you don't vaccinate your child for this disease as NY dad is going to do then that child is at risk to get the pox as an adult with dramatically more serious consequences.

The point of the rotovirus vaccine is to avoid serious disease not to avoid the disease itself. I would recommend doing research on how many kids each year die or have permenant quality of life decrease from rotovirus before casually opting out of it.
Hep B:
A blood born virus that is darn tough. It can live on a surface for 3 days from a wound smear that you can't see. Ever have a cut finger? Walk up a set of stairs and grab the railing? or how about let your 5 year old play soccer? The first thing you think of when another child gets a bloody nose and smears it on your child shouldn't be HIV (weak virus that dies very, very easily)but Hep B. I would certainly recommend getting it before your child participates in group sports.
Very concerned about your pediatrician implying that it is ok to not get the vaccine because she has never seen it. Hib is a very nasty disease and of all the childhood vaccines is probably the one you should be the most scared of because of the relative risk and the consequences of rolling the die. The number of spinal taps on infants in the US has dramatically declined since this vaccine came on the market. It has actually changed the way that doctors practice medicine (as a parent I have less fear of this vaccine then a spinal tap.)
Good vaccine in that it helps prevent resistant strains of the bacteria, but unfortunately nature is filling the void with other strains. They are planning on bringing an expanded version of the vaccine out in the next couple of years. Hopefully it will protect against some of the more antibiotic resistant strains.

Does anyone have the numbers on children that died from these diseases before the vaccines came on the market? Now that would actually be quite interesting and give factual merit to getting or not getting the vaccines.

Anonymous said...

I think that everyone above has good points. For us, we want to vaccinate, of coarse. But every situation is different, and i think it is great the there are people out there that are doing research and questioning " the vaccine schedule." Why not seperate the vaccines out instead of hitting their immune system with so many chemicals, heavy minerals and animal parts at one time? just spread it out a little. Since adding and adding all these vaccines there hasen't really been enough research yet on the combinations of shots that they are giving kids at early intervals. BTW, look at the HPV vaccine, there have been reported cases of paralysis etc...
Sure, vaccines work that is why diseases are less prevelant. no one is denying that. come on, just give our little ones a chance to develop their immune systems. and for god sake, breast feed.