Not so “lucky number seven”…

1 Nov

AJ’s first birthday and 12 month well-child check is just a few short weeks away.  Well-child checks almost always equal immunizations and this checkup could mean my baby’s thigh will be stuck with 7 needles…for 7 immunizations and protection from greater than 7 viruses.  Included in that series will be his flu shot booster since he received his initial flu shot last month.  He was too young {under 6 months} to have any flu vaccines last year, so at least he will be protected this fall/winter.

One shot that will not be puncturing AJ’s chunky thighs is the MMR.  It is probably the most talked about of all childhood vaccines and the one that scares most parents because so many {including the author of one of my favorite pregnancy books, Jenny McCarthy} have accused it of causing autism.

I am a complete supporter of vaccinations.  In the world prior to vaccinations {and antibiotics} many children did not survive to see their first birthday and the crippling effects of polio were seen almost world-wide.  But, I am frightened by the astonishing amount of mothers who feel that the MMR vaccine changed their previously healthy-developing children.  I don’t believe that the MMR vaccine can turn a non-autistic child into an autistic child, but maybe I feel that some children are more genetically susceptible to autism and the vaccine may just be the irritant that unleashes those genetic characteristics.

I waited until my daughter was 18 months old to have her MMR vaccine administered.  We did not live in an area where a measles, mumps or rubella epidemic was occurring, or I may have re-thought my plan.   Males are about 4 times more likely to develop autism than females, so I plan to delay the MMR vaccine with my son as well…I don’t know that it would change the course of my son’s life if he were destined to be autistic, I just know that is the decision that I am most comfortable with.

Clearly, immunizations are something that should be discussed with a pediatrician on an individual child’s basis.  I am NOT making a recommendation…just sharing MY personal thoughts about vaccinations and what I feel is best for MY family…not yours.

Click here for the U.S. childhood immunization schedule and here for more information about autism.

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2 Responses to “Not so “lucky number seven”…”

  1. Wyn-Erin November 2, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    My two cents on this hot topic. I think it’s extremely important that you feel comfortable with your pediatrician’s vaccination schedule. Some are more flexible with mothers’ wishes than others and you should never feel pressured or bullied into vaccinating your child if you’re not comfortable with it. I, too, delayed my daughter’s MMR until she was 18 months old, not only because of the autism issue but because I don’t feel that it’s necessary to give a baby THAT MANY shots at the same time. Not all children are the same and my kiddo has always been very small for her age. Who’s to say that the same amount of vaccines won’t affect her differently than an “average” sized child?

    That said, my cousin’s first child is about a year older than my daughter and she was hyper-vigilant about spacing her son’s shots out over a period of time, delayed the MMR until he was 2 (I think), and he was still diagnosed with a mild version of autism around age 4. So who knows if one has anything to do with the other but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to do what feels right to you and don’t let your doctor pressure you.

    That was more than two cents, wasn’t it? 🙂

  2. rn2mommy November 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    I love your two cents…thanks for sharing!

    The number of shots given at one time is also a concern for me. I would never plan to get 7 seven shots in one day for myself, but for some reason that is the norm for children. I was looking at the immunization schedule last night after I posted wondering how some of these immunizations could be divided between a couple visits.

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