Monday, June 30, 2008

Jumping off the Fence

I don't know. Your child has a bad reaction to a vaccination and then, you know, gets diagnosed with Autism and you tend to be a bit skittish about vaccinating after that. On the one hand, I don't think vaccines caused Oliver's autism, but I often wonder if maybe it exacerbated things. The illness that followed his 18 month vaccinations was just so dramatic and his decline afterwards so rapid that it is hard not to feel there was some link between the two. And even if it was a coincidence, I won't ever feel bad for my caution with Sami.

Anyway, I finally decided that it was time to get off the fence and start immunizing Sami. He is nearly three and a half and is becoming less and less sheltered and therefore more exposed to people and the germs they carry. And in the Fall I will send him to pre-school three mornings a week and they require him to be up-to-date with all his shots. I know my pediatrician has given medical waivers to the siblings of other kids with autism in his practice but I don't feel completely right about going that route. Because, like I said, I'm pretty sure Oliver was born with autism and Sami was not.

So I called the pediatrician's office and found out that he will need five shots altogether. Since I waited so long he actually needs cumulatively fewer shots than he would have if I'd gone according to schedule. But then I've also decided not to vaccinate for Hep. A and so that means he will actually have to get an extra shot. When I asked the nurse if I could tell her when we got there which vaccine we wanted on that day she said: "You mean you're going to have them all done separately? That's going to take a long time!" I considered this kind of funny because um, I'd already waited three and a half years! Also, what? Did she seriously think I was going to wait all this time and then go in there and surrender my kid up for a series of six shots?

I'm feeling pretty good since I made the decision. At least I won't have to worry every time he gets a fever that it is something seriously contagious that I could have prevented. And in case anyone else who reads this struggles with the whole issue, I just wanted to recommend The Vaccine Book by Robert W. Sears. It is a very balanced and detailed look at the diseases that we inoculate against, prevalence rates and risks should you contract the disease, how different manufacturers produce the vaccines, the potential risks of each variety, travel considerations and options to consider when getting each vaccine.


  1. I guess I too have jumped off the fence, although I am walking very closely to the fence and hop back up on it from time to time.

    6 shots at once! HA! Yea, okay. The things these people say, I tell ya.

    We need to do what makes us feel comfortable and still protect our kids. Glad you are finding your comfort zone.

  2. We are in the same boat too. We keep trying to take that leap, and then backing out.