Is your child on a delayed vaccine schedule?
Are you delaying vaccinations for your baby? If so, you're part of a growing trend. Vaccination delay (not following the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended schedule), or under-vaccination, is something parents are doing more and more lately. It seems like we want more say in our kids' vaccination schedules, and we want those schedules to slow the hell down.
A recent study took a look at the under-vaccination trend and confirmed that it's building momentum. Nearly half of the 300,000 children in the study were under-vaccinated by at least one day by the time they reached their second birthday. What's especially interesting is that the study looked at children who were under-vaccinated because the parents chose that, and children who were under-vaccinated for any reason.
So there's the major finding that under-vaccination is a growing trend, the study also looked at what kinds of visits these babies had while they were under-vaccinated.
- Under-vaccinated children do fewer outpatient visits than on-schedule kids. (This means visits to clinics, doctors' offices, and short hospital appointments.)
- Under-vaccinated children have more inpatient visits than on-schedule kids. (This means hospital stays.)
- Children who are under-vaccinated because of parental choice do fewer outpatient visits and have fewer emergency encounters.
In other words, under-vaccinated kids go longer between doctors' visits. But here's the worrying part -- under-immunized babies also check into the hospital more often. Other studies show that children who don't get vaccinations at all are nine times more likely to get chicken pox and 23 times more likely to get whopping cough than immunized kids.
So there you go -- some information to mull over while you decide whether you want to follow the ACIP schedule or an alternative schedule -- or none at all. Every parent who made a decision about this has their unique story to tell. My son followed the ACIP schedule (more or less) and has never needed a hospital stay. But that's just my story. We're all a special case and you can't generalize from one person's experience. All I know is, I'm glad I never had to check my baby into the hospital.
And if I had to do it all over again, I might delay the schedule for my child just a little bit more, but I'd still do all those immunizations pretty much on schedule. Except that chicken pox! Damn you, chicken pox vaccine. I had the chicken pox when I was five and I was just fine. Oops -- there I go, generalizing from my unique experience.
Have you chosen to delay vaccinations? Why or why not?