Friday, March 28, 2008

If i had to do my vaccines again.....

Someone actually commented on my vaccine post the other day. It reminded me that I learned a few more things from my pediatrician during my 4 month checkup regarding vaccines. As a result of that, I firmed up my vaccine plans a bit more.

If I had to do it all over again, I would not get the HepB vaccine at birth. It is important to get the HepB vaccine if you live in an area where there are immigrants from countries that have high HepB rates. The reason is because kids bite. To me this is a real threat because my relatives live in a country w/ an endemic HepB rate. I know that it is a terrible disease to have. We do indeed live in an area w/ lots of new immigrants from Asia.

So I would not get the HepB vaccine at birth, but rather when thumper is a toddler and starts daycare.

The other thing is that I learned is that my pediatrician has seen kids w/ Pc though she hasn't seen kids w/ HIB since she was in medical school. She talked about how she had a kid who had Pc and from diagnosis to death was only 6 hours. And this was with parents who were on top of things and called the pediatrician as soon as they suspected that things weren't right.

I think that what people forget is that vaccines were introduced so that lives can be saved. And that in countries w/o such rigorous vaccine regimen, parents actually do want their kids vaccinated. I read an article recently about how some country in Africa radically reduced their infant mortality rate from HIB after introduction of the vaccine a few years ago. That said, history is peppered with people/government who had good intentions, and instituted policies that ended up killing people.

Anyways, I reread CDC's vaccine schedule again after the checkup, and also looked at their Catchup Vaccine Schedule. I basically then created a schedule that was based on our lifestyle (no childcare till 10 months, breastfeeding till 1 year), where we were traveling, and what thumper's age is when we travel. I tried delaying vaccines as long as possible, till we needed it. The interesting thing is that if you look at the catch-up vaccine schedule, you'll see that you don't have to get as many vaccines if you started them late. So I tried to push them back as late as possible while still taking into account that the minute she starts daycare, she will likely need them.

In terms of the comments I got, there is a website NVIC where it lists how you can get exempted from vaccines.

Another thing to keep in mind when you determine a vaccine schedule is that vaccines are only good for specific number of years. For example, it is recommended that you get booster shots for tetenus every 5 years, whooping cough if you're close to infants, polio if you're visiting a country that still has polio.

This is an important point because thumper was originally going to get polio vaccine to be a good citizen. I heard somewhere you need to have a high vaccination rate (90%+) to wipe out a disease. And I do think everyone should contribute to that. But, polio is pretty much wiped out in the US AND thumper is not traveling to any place w/ polio anytime soon. And if she were, she'd have to get those shots again. So I'm opting out of it for now. It seems like such a waste of shots if we weren't even going anywhere w/ polio.

And yet another thing to remember is that when a society is vaccinated against certain vaccines, the strain that remains out there can sometimes become resistant to antibiotics. I believe this is the case for whooping cough. So it may be good to get vaccinated just for that reason.

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