Why Parents Delay Vaccines

Please do not read this post until you Read this First: Concerning Vaccines.

Most parents who choose to delay some or all vaccines usually do so for one or both of these reasons:

These events could be anything from poor response (persistent vomiting, prone to catching secondary illnesses after vaccines), to allergic reactions (anaphylactic reactions, febrile seizures), to serious adverse events (recurring seizures, encephalopathy, paralysis, neurological damage, death). Though statistically the chances of experiencing a serious adverse event are minimal (by some estimates, 1/100,000), to the parents and families of the 1 affected the reality is 100%. These parents would rather delay and be safe than sorry. As an extreme example, a couple loses their first child to SIDS within days or even hours of receiving the recommended round of 2-month vaccines. Though the CDC states there is no causal relationship between vaccines and SIDS, who in their right minds would blame or vilify these parents for delaying vaccines for their future children?

There is no law in any state requiring that parents follow the CDC schedule to the letter. State requirements simply say, school/daycare children must have X number of doses of XYZ vaccine before attending. They don’t care that your child started the 3-shot Hepatitis B series at age 12 months or 24 months instead of at birth like the CDC recommends. These requirements do not even include every vaccine on the market (HPV, for example), so just because the CDC puts a vaccine on the recommended schedule does not mean it’s required or necessary. Understand that the CDC assumes worst-case scenarios in regards to risks for children, and came up with a schedule that they truly believe offers the best protection for everyone (the “greater good” concept). Parents who choose to delay consider the risks of delaying, and for whatever reason believe these risks are worth taking. Just like some low-risk pregnant women opt for home birth, they understand that their choice always comes with some risk.

Unfortunately, parents who delay vaccines often experience vilification from health care providers instead of compassion, understanding, and objectivity…and the doctors out there who choose to listen to parents’ concerns and respect their right to informed consent are often thrown under the bus by their medical peers (such as Dr. Paul Offit, a popular media mouth-piece for mandatory vaccines, ridiculing and making untrue statements concerning Dr. Sears, author of The Vaccine Book–a simple “Offit Sears” Google search will tell you all you need to know).

Our family doctor has written several posts concerning vaccine choice that parents who fall on either side, or somewhere in between, would benefit from reading. I’ve posted links, along with a PBS interview with Dr. Sears for further consideration:


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