Monday, February 13, 2012

Saying No, Part III

Okay... when researching Hep B vaccines, I quickly got entrenched in dozens of sources fighting the battle of the standard vaccine schedule vs. various "alternative" schedules vs. avoiding vaccines all together.  And honestly, I haven't read enough about it to definitively make a statement pro or con about any of those 3 things.  So I'll keep things short and sweet, since I'm not ready to engage in the entire debate about vaccines.  Here's what I know thus far:
  • The standard vaccine schedule for children aged 0-6 (approved by the CDC and others) recommends 25 shots in the first 15 months of life.  Alternative schedules typically spread the same shots over 5-6 years.
  • The standard schedule of Hep B shots is given at birth, 1-2 months, and 6-18 months
  • Dr. Sears (the famous alternative immunization schedule guy) recommends Hep b at 2.5 years, 3 years, and 3.5 years instead.
  • most places require it for school entry (and require you to be on track for day care entry)
  • hep B, if contracted, is typically symptomless in infants, but still dangerous both to the carrier infant as well as anyone else they could expose 
  • Infant infections are typically found only in babies born to a Hepatitis B-positive mother (which I'm not), in which case it's important to get the vaccine in within 12 hours after birth.
I think that Ben and I will decline the Hep B shot while admitted at Mount Auburn, and this is approved by my midwife.  However, we will likely get our little girl the shot at some point in the future.  The question is whether we do it in the near future or the more distant future.  But I think the risks of Hep B certainly outweigh the consequences of pain from a few needles at some point down the road.  I'm really looking forward to figuring out what point down the road that is for us.  

I'll probably rely heavily on the advice of our pediatrician... which brings me to a whole separate issue.  Finding a pediatrician we like. ;-)

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