Believe it or not, some pediatricians think it is a good idea to delay vaccines.
“Wait until a child is clearly developmentally “solid” before vaccinating because we just don’t know which children will react badly to immunizations.”
Dr. Jay Gordon
In fact, Dr. Bob wrote a whole book pushing his own immunization schedule!
Not surprisingly, there are no benefits to skipping or delaying your child’s vaccines, but there are plenty of risks.
What Are the Risks of Delaying Vaccines?
Of course, the biggest risk of delaying your child’s vaccines is that they will get a disease that they could have been vaccinated and protected against.
“In 1989, the Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine was relatively new and not yet routine. I was aware of the vaccine’s availability, but, busy mom that I was, I had not yet made the trip to the health department to get the immunization for my two-year-old daughter, Sarah. I will always regret that bit of procrastination and the anguish that it caused.”
Although we are much more used to hearing vaccine injury scare stories, if you are thinking of delaying your child’s vaccines, there are also many personal stories of parents who regret not vaccinating their children that you should review.
It is true that the risk may be very small for a disease like polio, which is close to being eradicated worldwide, but it is not zero.
Consider that the last case of polio occurred in 2005, when an unvaccinated 22-year-old U.S. college student became infected with polio vaccine virus while traveling to Costa Rica in a university-sponsored study-abroad program.
So you might not get wild polio unless you visit specific regions of Afghanistan or Pakistan, but you might want to be concerned about vaccine-associated polio if you go to a country that is still giving the oral polio vaccine.
Some studies even suggest that delaying your child’s vaccines puts them at more risk for side effects once you do start to get caught up!
“…in the second year of life, delay of the first MMR vaccine until 16 months of age or older resulted in an IRR for seizures in the 7 to 10 days after vaccination that was 3 times greater than if administration of MMR vaccine occurred on time.”
Hambridge et al on Timely Versus Delayed Early Childhood Vaccination and Seizures
Why would that be?
It’s probably because that’s when kids are most at risk for febrile seizures.
What Are the Benefits of Delaying Vaccines?
Again, there are no real benefits of delaying vaccines, except that your child gets out of one or more shots. Of course, that means your unvaccinated child is left unprotected.
And it is going to mean more shots later, once you do decide to get caught up.
“The prevalence of allergic diseases and non-specific infections in children and adolescents was not found to depend on vaccination status.”
Schmitz et al on Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents Findings of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS)
Unvaccinated kids are not healthier than those who are vaccinated. They are just at higher risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease.
“I also warn them not to share their fears with their neighbors, because if too many people avoid the MMR, we’ll likely see the diseases increase significantly.”
Dr. Bob Sears in The Vaccine Book
Obviously, that put us all at risk. If too many people skip or delay their child’s vaccines, we will see more outbreaks.
What to Know About the Risks of Delaying Vaccines
Delaying your child’s vaccines offers no benefits and lots of increased risks, especially an increased risk of getting the diseases that the vaccines protect us against.
More on the Risks of Delaying Vaccines
- Delaying Vaccines Increases Risks—with No Added Benefits
- Study – Timely versus delayed early childhood vaccination and seizures.
- The Problem with Dr. Bob’s Alternative Vaccine Schedule
- Cashing In On Fear: The Danger of Dr. Sears
- Delayed Schedules
- Sears and Gordon: Should Misleading Vaccine Advice Have Professional Consequences?
- Altering the Schedule
- Talking about Vaccines : Countering Dr. Sears
- A comprehensive takedown of Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book
- Moms Who Vax: What Middle Ground?
- Finding the Silver Lining in Delayed Vaccination
- Delaying Vaccines Not A Good Idea
- Why Delay Vaccines For Your Child?
- What Is the Harm in Delaying or Spacing out Vaccines?
- An example of how alternate vaccine schedules endanger children
- Getting with the Schedule : Slow-Vax to Pro-Vax
- Is It Safer to Delay MMR Vaccination?
- Delaying measles vaccination may increase risk of seizures
- Inventing your own vaccine schedule? Not a wise idea.
- Polio vaccines: WHO position paper – March, 2016
- Study – Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents Findings of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS)
- Health of Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated
- A vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study and, guess what, vaccinated kids do better on tests
- Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated
- Two (now retracted) studies purporting to show that vaccinated children are sicker than unvaccinated children show nothing of the sort
- Both Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children Can Have Autism