Monday, August 6, 2012

Four Month Appointment and My Thoughts on Vaccines

Today was little Augie's 4 month check-up.

Newest stats: 

Weight- 17lbs 4oz, 90th percentile
Height- 25.5in, 75th percentile

He has gained 4lbs and 2 inches in the past two months! Also, he shot up from the 81st to the 90th percentile on weight and from the 66th to the 75th percentile on height! Woot, woot!

Today he also had to get shots again- same ones as last time, second round. I was very iffy about it, since I have been able to get my brain together enough from the last visit to do research on the vaccines. It is such a tricky thing for any mother to make these kinds of decisions for her baby. Well-- I suppose some moms do not fret about this particular thing, and there are some things that other mom's fret a lot about that I don't; it is all perspective. This is a big one for me. 

Based on my research, here is where I stand so far on vaccinations for Augie:

Hep B: This is a virus that is primarily transmitted by blood, i.e. sexually transmitted or transmitted by needles. Since I don't think Augie will be having sex or getting tattoo's any time soon, I am going to delay this one until he is MUCH older. This vaccine is typically given at birth, 1 month, and 9 months. I think they do this because they have to work with the "lowest common denominator", parentally speaking, and need to get this vaccine "taken care of" since a lot of parents might not care enough to finish vaccinating at an older age. No thanks on this one, until he is 5? Maybe 7? Not sure yet. 

Rotavirus: Essentially, the baby flu. The disease is not very terrible, and the deaths is causes are typically from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, but since this vaccine is not know to have scary side effects, I did not really have an issue with him getting it. This vaccine is typically given at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, which is what we are doing. 

Hib: Essentially, a bad baby cough/cold. It is spread easily and the vaccine is not known for side effects, so, once again, I have no issue with him getting it. This vaccine is typically given at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, and a booster at 4 years. 

PCV: The product name for this vaccine (usually) is Prevnar. This is one that I really thought over quite a bit. On the one hand, this vaccine IS known for some side effects. Mostly fever and sometimes a rash, and 1 in 20,000 babies will have seizures. Yikes. Here is the flip side of that coin: Pneumococcal bacterial illness is the largest killer of babies in the modern day. This bacteria is associated with a plethora of diseases, the most severe being meningitis. It is also worth noting that this vaccine contains 125 micrograms of Aluminum, and it is not effective against ALL pneumococcal diseases, as there quite a few. As for us, I decided to go head with this vaccine. I will only allow it to be given to Augie in combination with Hib (a low side effect vaccine) and I make sure to watch him like a hawk for 24 hours after he receives it. And I pray. A lot. Am I freaked out? Sure. Would I absolutely die of sadness if my little boy died of Meningitis because of this disease. Yes. Hard decision. This vaccine is typically given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months, and this is what we will do. 

DTaP: This is a combo vaccine for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. This is another one that is really making me think, and I have yet to make a decision on. I do know that he will not be getting it on schedule, since I do not want to do this one in combination with Prevnar, as it is another vaccine that has a high rate of side effects. While Diptheria and Tetanus are very uncommon in the US, Pertussis is very common, and is currently turning into a bit of an "epidemic", so I will most likely get him this vaccine at some point. It contains 330 micrograms of Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Mercury. This vaccine is typically given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, and 4 years. I am leaning towards asking my pediatrician if he can come in between two month increments to receive this shot by itself on odd months. 

IPV: This is the vaccine for Polio. It has been around forever and, therefore, is a VERY uncommon disease in the US, but it also has very low side effects and so he will be getting this one. This vaccine is typically given at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, with a 4 year old booster. Augie will be getting this at 9 months, 15 months, 18 months, and 4 years.

MMR: This is the vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. It is the one that has been linked, according to some studies, to Autism. Whether or not I believe this, these diseases are basically unheard of in the US, so I will be waiting to give Augie this vaccine until he is a little older (along with the Hep B). This vaccine is typically given at 12 months and 4 years.

Varicella: This is Chicken Pox. What?! No way. My kid can just get the good 'ol pox like I did and get an ACTIVE immunity to it, which is way better than the vaccine anyhow, and will therefore protect him better against Shingles later in life. This vaccine is typically given at 12 months, 2 and 4 years.

**Disclaimer: Clearly I am not a doctor, or anything close. I am a woman, and I have a brain, so I use it in my God given vocation: Motherhood. I believe that doctors should wear disclaimers, too, though. Theirs should say: I am a doctor, not God. The things that I tell you are healthy today could totally be proven wrong in the next few years. They might even kill you. 

You're welcome. 

For any parents who want more information, this book shares impartial advice about the twelve standard vaccines, profiling each for risk factors, manufacturing processes, and current controversies: 
"The Vaccine" by Dr. Robert W. Sears 

When in doubt, educate yourself, and don't just listen to what a doctor or ANYONE tells you you"have to do" for yourself or your childern : )

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is great! Really helpful as I have to make the same decisions, too. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and decisions!