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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.