I’m a father, and last October I made a deep dive into the childhood immunization controversy.
I am a pediatrician, and that means I see the full range of children’s well-being.
With my career comes the wonderful ability to examine what vaccines are, and are not, accomplishing. Often I give an overview of the science and why my kids have such a healthy weight.
I also get to express how vaccines are best for my family and all children.
Don’t get me wrong: I think we’re doing the right thing. I like vaccines. We have so many due to our vaccination schedule, which is nearly sufficient for each child. We have him well covered, and we still have a lot to do.
Still, being able to hear from those who are saying vaccines aren’t good and that delaying vaccines is fine is great. While we haven’t talked to a number of parents — and I don’t want to — we don’t hear this stuff a lot because we focus on other discussions. We hope not.
But I have read some studies, and one in particular came as a shock: A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the more delayed a child had received their vaccines, the greater the risk was that he or she would come down with a disease.
Furthermore, this study of children between two and 17 years old suggested that adolescents who had been delayed would have an 8 percent greater risk of developing or dying from measles.
It was a mess — a study without evidence. What the study did show was that delaying vaccines could increase the risk.
But what did this study show? What is the evidence that delaying vaccines increases the risk? It didn’t, which is why I had to speak out.
Focusing on whether parents could make decisions based on the data surrounding vaccines is misguided, because this isn’t just a question of whether vaccines are beneficial for children or not. We are now in a new era where we can safely tailor vaccinations for each individual child. This should matter to parents.
I see so many parents who are barely holding it together when their kids need vaccinations. Kids have days they just don’t get well.
For example, two years ago my daughter was over-exposed to different vaccinations in the fall and winter. She didn’t seem to have as many side effects, but she went from feeling calm to getting sick almost immediately after we gave her her first shot.
That’s what we call a delayed response.
However, if she could have gotten both vaccines at the same time, she wouldn’t have had the effect of side effects she had.
I’m not saying vaccines are right for everyone. What I am saying is that with the new research it is time for parents to go into their doctors’ offices with the conversation of vaccination. It’s the right thing to do for my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
I am happy to see that, even in the U.S., the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration now advise parents not to delay or avoid vaccines.
As a pediatrician I want my son to be well, but I don’t want to see any kids get sick.