Everyone can agree that vaccines are a good thing when it comes to the fact that they ward of epidemics of widespread disease. However, there has been some unrest in the past decade or so circling around vaccines and how necessary, healthy, or required they really are. When you visit a pediatrician and are told that your child should be given certain vaccines, you have the choice to either accept the vaccines or decline to have them administered. You can also select which vaccines, if any, you’d like your child to have. However, you should know that states do mandate which vaccines are required in order for your child to be allowed to attend a public school. If you are having doubts about getting your child vaccinated but think you may send her to public school one day, you may want to look more into this issue as there are different exemptions and requirements depending on state and school.
Vaccinations and Autism:
One factor that is making people less inclined to have their children vaccinated is the discussion of the link between infant vaccines and the development of autism. Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was used in many vaccines between the late 1980s to 2003, plays a big role in the conversation of whether vaccines cause autism. Thimerosal was thought to be poisoning children who were immunized with vaccines containing it.
While the type of mercury that is used in thimerosal is typically cleared from the body within six weeks maximum, there are a number of researchers who believe that the preservative causes autism and that babies born during the 20-year window between 1980-2003 were injected with many times more than what the safe level of thimerosal would be as was determined by the FDA. Some feel that as a result of the higher level of injection, the children’s bodies were unable to clear the large doses of mercury from their bodies. Mercury is, in fact, a neurotoxin, and the vaccine-autism theory is centered around the idea that the recent leap in autism diagnoses can be directly tied to thimerosal in vaccines.
However, as convincing as that may sound, in 2004 the Institute of Medicine undertook a comprehensive review of all of the published literature on thimerosal and autism and concluded that the available evidence demonstrated that there was no link between one and the other.
The CDC then launched a series of studies that examined the relationship between an autistic child and the amount of mercury that child received in the first 6 months of life and found no relationship whatsoever. While all published credible studies have found absolutely no link between thimerosal and autism, some people are still not convinced and believe there is a conspiracy or a government cover-up.
Currently thimerosal has been removed from vaccines and special thimerosal-free vaccines are widely available. However, there has not been any drop in rates of autism diagnoses.
If you do choose to get your child vaccinated, here is the typical vaccination schedule that is federally recommended to protect your child.
*Hep B: Hepatitis B vaccine (HBV)
At 1-2 months old:
* Hep B: Second dose should be administered 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
At 2 months old:
* DTaP: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis vaccine
* Hib: Haemophilus Influenzae type b vaccine
* IPV: Inactivated Poliovirus vaccine
* PCV: Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine
* Rota: Rotavirus vaccine
At 4 months old:
At 6 months old:
At 6 months old and annually afterwards:
* Seasonal influenza. Beginning in the 2010-2011 flu season, the seasonal influenza vaccine protects against H1N1 flu, as well as other flu strains.
At 6-18 months old:
* Hep B
At 12-15 months old:
* MMR: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine
* Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
At 12-23 months old:
* Hep A: Hepatitis A vaccine (given as two shots at least 6 months apart)
At 15-18 months old:
At 4-6 years old:
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