Half of Babies Are on a Slower Vaccination Schedule – Should Yours Be?

Health Check 33

baby doctorAre 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?


Image via eyeliam/Flickr


baby health, vaccines


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corri... corrinacs

I chose for my children to get thier vax's on time.  They were not able to get the flu, H1N1 or the MMR due to severe egg allergies.  MMR did come in later.  I did delay the chicken pox vaccine, but that was beause the doctor highly reocmmended it.  I was pregnant with my second child and did not have the tithers for chicken pox (yep, please DO NOT GIVE IT OT ME.......Chicken pox at my age is horrible they say).  

And I did want him to get it.....because children with asthma and excema do horribly with the chicken pox :(.  it tears thier skin to peices and can cause massive lung issues :(.

nonmember avatar nicky

Corrinacs, I also didnt have the tithers for chicken pox when my first son needed his shot and I still got it for him while I was pregnant, since Id rather take that chance from the vaccine than actually him getting the real deal. Also, as soon as I gave birth to my second child they gave me the vaccine before I was discharged and I was breastfeeding and no pronlems! Just FYI.

nonmember avatar mom_of_3

I had all three of my kids vaccinations done according to my drs advice & schedule, except I delayed the third babies cause he was born 5 weeks premature. Only a month off schedule for the first 6 months but now he's on track. I trust my kids pediatrician & all my kids are extremely healthy. Especially the preemie, who just turned one last week. Very blessed!

peanu... peanutsmommy1

We declined the second mmr as it is only given because 2% of kids dont get the immunity to the rubella portion of the vaccination. We also declined the chicken pox, flu shots and guardicil

Julie Winkler

Whooping cough sure would give you a "whopping cough". A little more proof reading would go a long way.


Katy Khan

My son is fully faxed...and by that I mean at 2 1/2 he's vaxed as fully as a kindergartener (only because we travel abroad extensively to countries that DONT vax for varoius things that we do.) and he never suffered from any side effects and has always been extremely healthy :)

Katy Khan

*vaxed, not 'faxed' :P

Albond86 Albond86

My kids get all theirs except the chicken pox and gaurdacil. I get the flu shot only when they're infants or in my ds's case is required by the preschool.

gabe05 gabe05

I agree that the chicken pox vaccine is the worst.  It is the only immunization that any of my kids had trouble with and two of them got a bad rash, one a high fever, and one shooting pains in her legs that caused her to stop walking for five days.  I think getting chicken pox may have been easier!

nonmember avatar Gretta

I just follow the schedule. I don't know enough to make up my own and I am not going to read a bunch of stuff on the Internet and believe I do. I also had a young child in the hospital very sick once. It was horrible and I do not wish to repeat it.

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