Many parents have read The Vaccine Book, written by Dr. Sears, and have decided to use either his alternative or selective vaccine schedule. For those who read this blog, you will note that I have recommended it as a useful book. I think the book is well researched and gives parents a nice balance of the potential risks of vaccines and the actual risks of the diseases the vaccines are meant to prevent.
I have purposely stayed out of the alternative vaccine schedule debate because it is such a controversial one, and one that often leaves parents confused and frustrated. For most parents, and their children, the traditional CDC recommended vaccine schedule is almost certainly the safest way to go. However, some parents will decide to review the evidence for and against vaccination and make their own decision. As such, my goal has always been to try and provide you with some direction in your search for reliable information.
Two Sides to Every Story
The Sears’ side
On the one side is the group that is suspicious of the need for vaccines. There are a multitude of suspicions – some founded and some just ridiculous. Most of these suspicions are covered in one form or another in Sears’ book. Many parents, after careful review of books, the internet, and discussions with their friends, family, and healthcare provider, may decide to deviate in one form or another from the CDC recommended vaccine schedule. For some parents this means declining all vaccines. For others this means delaying some vaccines. The end result of this process is often an alternative or selective vaccine schedule. Dr. Sears, based on his review of the subject, offers examples of both an alternative and selective schedule in his book. Given that this book has consistently been on the Amazon top 100 sellers for months now, I can only conclude that parents find this concept appealing. However, there are always two sides to every story…
The other side
A recent article published in Pediatrics, has carefully reviewed the claims made by Dr. Sears in his book. Specifically, the authors consider the claims made by Sears that would seem to support an alternative or selective vaccine schedule. This article is very well written and makes some excellent points. I encourage everyone with children to read it, especially those who are planning to deviate from the recommended vaccine schedule. Click here to download a free .pdf copy of the article.
Parents who choose to deviate from the CDC recommended vaccination schedule should exercise caution. There is an enormous amount of deceptive and outright misleading information available both in the bookstore and on the internet. Word-of-mouth information is even more suspect in many cases.
I will admit, though, that there may be rational arguments to delay or decline some vaccines. However, this should only be done after careful consultation with your pediatrician and extensive research on the part of the parents. If your pediatrician is unwilling to have the discussion with you, then find a new pediatrician. Any good pediatrician should be both knowledgeable and current on information regarding vaccination. More, they should also be willing and able to intelligently discuss the pros and cons of vaccination with you. In most cases, you will find that there is little reason to deviate much, or at all, from the recommended vaccination schedule.
As always though – you are the parent. Educate yourself, then… You Decide.
Dr. Sears Website – check out this link for information from Dr. Sears himself.
Pediatrics – this is a link to the article recently published refuting some of the claims made by Dr. Sears.
Do Vaccines Cause That?! – This is an excellent resource that covers virtually all the information you will need to understand the rationale for vaccination in this country.
Mainstream Parenting Resources – This a mommyblog with lots of good info if you want to see what other parents have found in their quest for the truth.