Even as most of us understand that vaccines are safe and necessary, we are all free to make our own choices about vaccines and most other things in life. No one is forced to vaccinate their kids, despite what folks try to tell you.
Also, despite what many folks think, parents who choose to skip or delay vaccines have a lot of different reasons for doing so.
Kat Von D Just Took Away Your Vaccine Choice
Why has Kat Von D, a celebrity tattoo artist, decided to skip her child’s vaccines?
It seems that she wants to “raise a vegan child, without vaccinations,” even though many other vegans do indeed vaccinate their kids.
Why do we care what celebrities do with their kids? Well, for one thing, with 6.7 million followers on Instagram, she has the potential to influence a lot of people, not that anyone should really be taking health advice from a celebrity.
“My point being: I already know what it’s like to make life choices that are not the same as the majority. So your negative comments are not going influence my choices – actual research and educating myself will – which i am diligently doing.
This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey.”
Kat Von D
Just consider her comments about choices.
Kat Von D is all about making her own life choices, but in reality, she is taking away the choice for anyone who gets sick if they are exposed to her intentionally unvaccinated kid, if her child ever gets sick.
But how would her unvaccinated child get anyone else sick? While vaccine-preventable diseases don’t magically appear inside our bodies, we catch them from other people, if you have skipped or delayed a vaccine, then you have a much higher chance of getting one than someone who is vaccinated and protected. And since you can be contagious before you even have symptoms, you can expose others before you even know that you are sick.
Sure, most other people are vaccinated, but many are at risk because some are too young to be vaccinated, have true medical exemptions to getting vaccinated, including kids with immune system problems and cancer, and sometimes, vaccines don’t work.
Unlike parents who used to take their kids to chicken pox parties, you don’t have a choice if your child gets measles because they were exposed to an intentionally unvaccinated child at daycare, school, or the grocery store. In fact, that’s a reason that many pediatricians now dismiss unvaccinated families.
Hopefully Kat Von D and her husband will really continue doing “actual research” about vaccines and she will understand that the best choice we can all make is to get our kids and ourselves vaccinated and protected. At least she should understand that her choice about vaccines shouldn’t put the rest of us at risk.
What to Know About Kat Von D and Her Vaccine Choice
Kat Von D choice to raise an unvaccinated child and tell her 6.7 million followers on Instagram affects us all.
There is plenty of evidence that the standard immunization schedule is safe and effective.
What about the alternative vaccine schedules that some folks push?
Is there any evidence that is safe to delay or skip any of your child’s vaccines?
Alternative Vaccine Schedules
Many people think of Dr. Bob Sears when they think of alternative vaccine schedules.
He created both:
Dr Bob’s Selective Vaccine Schedule
Dr Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule
He didn’t invent the idea of the alternative vaccine schedule though.
Well before Dr. Bob appeared on the scene, Dr. Jay Gordon had been on Good Morning America with Cindy Crawford to discuss vaccines and how she had decided to delay vaccinating her baby.
Where did she get the idea?
After the segment, Dr. Jay stated:
“They edited the segment to make me sound like a vaccination proponent. We also have to understand the impact of a person as well-known as Cindy Crawford delaying vaccines for over six months.”
Dr. Jay has long talked about only giving infants one vaccine at a time and waiting until they are “developmentally solid” before vaccinating.
Similarly, other folks have pushed ideas about delaying and skipping vaccines before Dr. Bob, including:
Donald Miller and his User-Friendly Vaccination Schedule – no vaccines until age two years and no live vaccines and when you begin vaccinating your child, give them one at a time, every six months (first published in 2004)
Stephanie Cave – starts at 4 months and delays many vaccines
homeopaths with immunization schedules that say to wait until six months and then start giving nosodes every five days
chiropractors with immunization plans that say to get regular chiropractic adjustments instead of vaccines
Of course, Dr. Bob is the one who popularized the idea of the alternative vaccine schedule in 2007, when he published The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child.
That’s when parents started to bring copies of his schedule into their pediatrician’s office, requesting to follow Dr. Bob’s schedule instead of the standard immunization schedule from the CDC.
What’s the Evidence for Alternative Vaccine Schedules?
There is no evidence that following an alternative vaccine schedule is safe for your kids.
“No alternative vaccine schedules have been evaluated and found to provide better safety or efficacy than the recommended schedule, supported by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC and the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the AAP (the committee that produces the Red Book).
Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
American Academy of Pediatrics
What’s the first clue that these so-called alternative vaccine schedules have absolutely no evidence behind them?
They are all different!
Paul Thomas, for example, doesn’t even offer his patients the rotavirus vaccine. Dr. Bob, on the other hand, has it on his list of vaccines that “that could protect a baby from a very potentially life-threatening or very common serious illness” and is sure to give it at 2, 4, and 6 months.
How slow should you go?
Both Dr. Bob and Dr. Paul give two vaccines at a time with their schedules, but Dr. Jay and Dr. Miller say to give just one at a time.
“Would any scientist give SIX vaccines at once to a baby? Asking for trouble. One at a time makes so much more sense.”
And while some start their schedules at 2 or 4 months, others delay until 6 months or 2 years.
There is also the fact that the folks who create these schedules admit that there is no evidence for what they are doing…
“No one’s ever researched to see what happens if you delay vaccines. And do babies handle vaccines better when they’re older? This is really just a typical fear that parents have when their babies are young and small and more vulnerable. Since I don’t know one way or the other, I’m just happy to work with these parents, understand their fears and their worries, and agree to vaccinate them in a way that they feel is safer for their baby.”
Unvaccinated kids aren’t healthier – they just get more vaccine preventable diseases. Most of which are life-threatening, even in this age of modern medicine, with access to good nutrition and sanitation.
So whether you only get one or two vaccines at a time; delay until four months, six months, or two years before you get started; skip all live vaccines or just wait until your child is “developmentally solid” to give them; or go with some other non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedule, the only things that you can be sure of is that there is no evidence to support your decision and that you will leave your kids unprotected and at risk for getting a vaccine-preventable disease.
“…when I give your six-week-old seven different vaccines with two dozen antigens, I am supposed to try to convince you that the adverse reactions you have heard about are just coincidences.”
Better yet though. Find a pediatrician who will listen and answer your questions about vaccines, concerns about vaccine myths and misinformation, explain that no vaccine is optional, and not just simply pander to your fears.
What to Know About the Evidence for Alternative Vaccine Schedules
There is no evidence that skipping or delaying any vaccines with an alternative vaccine schedules can keep your kids safe from vaccine preventable diseases.
More on the Evidence for Alternative Vaccine Schedules
“…it is important to recognise that the balance of media reporting does not necessarily reflect the balance of the argument among the involved professionals – by this is meant that equal weighting might be given by the media (and thus the lay community) to those for and against the vaccine although opponents of vaccination might be a very small number, as for example happened with both pertussis and MMR.”
David Baxter on Opposition to Vaccination and Immunisation the UK Experience – from Smallpox to MMR
understand the hierarchy of evidence and that a small study done in mice or a case report is probably not newsworthy, whereas a systemic review or meta analyses, especially if it was published in a high impact journal, is something we might need to hear about
Are you ready to cover your next story about vaccines or the next measles outbreak?
What to Know About Reporting on Vaccines
The way that health journalists cover vaccines and vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks can influence the behavior of people, either helping them understand that vaccines are safe and necessary, putting them on-the-fence about vaccines, or scarring them away from getting vaccinated and protected.
We all know the popular resolutions that folks consider making each year, including that they exercise more, spend less money, and enjoy life more, etc.
Those are all great, but this year, how about adding a few about vaccines!
Why We Need Vaccine Resolutions
Why do we need resolutions about vaccines?
“You hear about people who don’t like to vaccinate their kids in the Western world, which I suppose is a personal choice, but when you’re out there, the result of your children not being vaccinated is that they’ll likely die, or be horribly maimed. So yes, I saw a real desire to have their children protected, and also a real understanding of it – I didn’t seem to come across anybody who went ‘What is it?’ Or ‘What does it do?’ They all seemed to know about it.”
Ewan McGregor on Cold Chain Mission
Not surprisingly, you don’t have to be “out there” to see what can happen if your kids aren’t vaccinated. That’s evident from all of the kids who have died during the recent measles outbreaks in Europe. And the fact that most kids who die with flu in the US aren’t vaccinated.
That’s why we need people to make these resolutions about vaccines.