The little one turned 9 months old last month, so at her 9-month wellbaby appointment I asked her pediatrician about perhaps spacing out some of the next vaccinations. She opened her mouth and breathed fire and melted my eyeballs right down my face.
Our pediatrician is one of the leading proponents of timely vaccination of children. She is also as vociferous as she can be about vaccine saftety, especially when it comes to Autism. So, we spent the remainder of the visit with her venting about all of the misinformation and fear and paranoia fed by the media, and I did a lousy job of redirecting the conversation to the many other risks associated with vaccines - encephalopathy, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease - what with the melted eyeballs and all.
And let me not add to false hysteria - I have yet to find a study that has found a positive correlation between vaccines and any of the above conditions. But, and as usual it's a big but, every one of the studies that I found was an epidemiological study. We don't know yet what triggers these conditions to arise in some kids and not in others, although we have a handle on several contributing factors. But why one child's system deteriorates to disease but another's health is resilient, when each is exposed to the same environmental stressors and pathogens, is not yet understood.
Our particular pediatrician, while she was completing her residency, had a 7 year-old girl brought in to the ER by her distraught parents with a sudden 106 fever who had the chicken pox. She had open blisters and a staph infection had invaded through one of them; her entire body was shutting down. She was put on IV antibiotics and taken to ICU, but her heart gave out before the night was over. Can't blame our doctor for being so deeply passionate about vaccinations coming from that sort of personal experience.
So, yes, I want to vaccinate my child. But there's so many of them now, and we still understand so little about the connections between vaccinations and why some children have these extraordinary adverse reactions - even death - and some don't. I feel like I'm playing Russian Roulette every time we go in for more shots. Then I look at the decisions and opinion at the website for the Court of Federal Claims under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and I get a little freaked out.
I've considered changing pediatricians, but that still doesn't solve my dilemma of what to vaccinate for and when. The CDC seems to take the approach of get as many as you can as fast as you can. I know there are alternative schedules out there, but I'd like to see some science backing them up.
I'm in a stew about this one. Ugh.