Where do I stand?
A friend of mine recently brought into question the fact that I follow and espouse the AAP's (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations and guidelines regarding television viewing (and other things), yet I do not follow their recommendations regarding vaccinations.
I'm glad she brought it up because this is something I've been giving a lot of thought to lately and trying to figure out exactly where I stand. After all, how can I say "yes, the AAP is right" regarding one thing, and not another?
This is the conclusion I've come to:
I follow the AAP's recommendations on all of the things that make sense to me and where there is not obvious conflicting information available.
Some examples of the things I follow are:
-- "Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children younger than two years of age. For older children, the AAP recommends no more than one to two hours per day of quality screen time." -- Television — How it Affects Children
-- I don't know of any studies that say that television is beneficial for very young children, so I choose to heed the AAP's recommendations.
-- "Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child." -- AAP Releases Revised Breastfeeding Recommendations
-- Again, I don't know of any studies that say that breastfeeding is bad for a child (quite the contrary), so I follow their recommendations. (Not to mention that breastfeeding just feels natural to me.)
-- "While scientific studies show some medical benefits of circumcision, these benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised." -- Circumcision: Frequently Asked Questions
-- I haven't had to make this decision yet as we have a daughter, but if we were to have a son in the future, he would not be circumcised.
Now onto the topic of whether or not to vaccinate and/or whether or not to vaccinate on the AAP's recommended schedule. There is a plethora of information contradicting what the AAP recommends.
The National Vaccine Information Center is one place to gain information to help make an informed decision on whether/when to vaccinate. From the website, "Vaccination is a medical procedure which carries a risk of injury or death. As a parent, it is your responsibility to become educated about the benefits and risks of vaccines in order to make the most informed, responsible vaccination decisions."
Another website that gives food for thought with regard to vaccinations is on Dr. Joseph Mercola's site. The article is Tell the Truth About Vaccines - Or Keep Away From My Children.
Dr. Mercola's comments on the article are:
"If the average American were aware of the common components of vaccines, they may think twice before considering them. Now they have replaced mercury with equally damaging toxins, aluminum and formaldehyde. But the list of vaccine fillers doesn't end there. Here is a partial list of some of the other fillers that vaccines could contain:
* aluminum hydroxide
* animal tissues: pig blood, horse blood, rabbit brain, dog kidney, monkey kidney, chick embryo, human diploid cells (originating from human aborted fetal tissue)
* monosodium glutamate (MSG)
* phenoxyethanol (antifreeze)
These additives are often more dangerous than the viral component of the vaccine. If you are a parent and are considering vaccinating your child, please read up on the potentially devastating side effects of vaccines before doing so, it could mean the difference between life and death."
I've met people (via the Internet) who's children have had bad reactions to certain vaccines. Reactions that were bad enough, in fact, that their doctor told them their child should NOT have any more of the vaccinations in that sequence and that any other children they may have should not receive any of those vaccinations (that caused the reaction) either. That's frightening to me.
I've also read stories of children who've had severe reactions to vaccinations - some paralyzed, some died. While there isn't conclusive proof that the vaccinations caused these things, the coincidences with the timing of the vaccinations and the onset of the problems seems way too close to ignore the possiblity that they could've resulted from the vaccinations.
I know that the risks involved with getting vaccinations are small, and one might argue that there is a greater risk of my child getting one of those diseases by not having the vaccine. But that is a risk that I'm aware of and, until I feel comfortable with vaccinating my child, I will hold off on it.
There are a few reasons why my child is not at a high risk of getting one of those infectious diseases at this time in her life, which make me more comfortable with my decision to hold off on vaccinations for the time being.
1. She is breastfed.
2. She is not in daycare.
3. We do not travel outside the country.
While my doctor is definitely in favor of vaccinations, she admits that my child is not at high risk (because of the aforementioned reasons) and therefore is ok with me delaying vaccinations at this time.
One other thing that comes to mind regarding why I question the AAP's recommended vaccination schedule is that I've had doctors tell me that the reason the schedule is set up the way it is is not because having shots in those time incriments is best for the child or will achieve optimal results. Rather that it is set up that way because it is most convenient since parents are already bringing their children into the doctor for well-child check-ups at those times.
Because I have not felt 100% (or even 90%) comfortable with getting vaccinations as of yet due to the amount of conflicting information available, I have not followed the AAP's recommendations. I do, however, have plans to start selectively vaccinating my daughter in the very near future.
I thank God that I live in a country where I have freedom of choice to pick and choose what makes sense to me and decide what I feel is right for me and my family. :)
I hope that answers the question of why I support some of the AAP's recommendations and not others. As always, if you have more questions for me, let me know.
"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything." -- Malcolm X