Vaccines, Part 4: Thoughts on Each Vaccine

It took me awhile to finish up these posts on vaccinations .. shame on me. What can I say? I got a little preoccupied with baby clothes, bedding and other fun stuff :)
We’ve yet to make our decision about vaccines. It seems that one moment I’m super confident that we aren’t going to vaccinate, then the next that we should, then I think we should just work up a modified schedule. It’s one of those rough parenting choices. The kind where there isn’t a right answer. I’m realizing there are a lot of those!
On to the vaccines … here is the recap from Dr. Hofmann-Smith’s vaccination class:
Hepatitis B – It is pretty rare that a baby can get Hep B. It is contracted through an infected mom, shared needles or sex with an infected person. It can be given later in life if exposure increases due to a job or something else.
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – wait indefinitely
Hib (Hemophilusinfluenzae type b) – The disease is rare and hard to detect. Over the years the vaccine has proved to be quite effective, but there is a risk of side effects (none have proven to be permenant).
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – one to consider skipping
Polio – Risk of contracting polio in the U.S./industrialized world is zero. If there was to be an outbreak a vaccine could be given at that time. (International consideration: If travel to Africa, India, Pakistan or Indonesia is on the horizon it is recommended in 3 doses spaced out over 5 months.)
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – wait indefinitely
DTaP – This vaccine covers Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis. If parents opt to give this vaccine sequence Dr. Hoffmann-Smith recommends loading up on Vitamin C and antioxidants beforehand (moms too if they are breastfeeding). Good sources are blueberries, cranberries and grapeseen extract. Parents can also request a dose of Silicea (homeopathic remedy to reduce pain and insulate nerves) before and after the vaccine.
  •  Tetanus – It is caused by an infection from an anaerobic bacterium found in soil. The disease is quite serious and diffcult to treat. The vaccine has been reliable. The tetanus shot can be given seperate from the full DTaP and Dr Hoffmann-Smith recommends waiting until 10-12 months if parents decide to vaccinate for tetanus.
  • Diptheria – Very serious disease, but also very rare. There have been reports of bad reactions to this vaccine including autism. Ideally, Dr. Hoffmann-Smith would recommend avoiding the diptheria vaccine, but if the pertussis vaccine is desired you can’t get pertussis alone; it has to be given with diptheria for some reason. Anyone know any details on this?
  • Pertussis – Pretty serious infection and the infection rate in children under 2 has been increasing. Adults are usually the main carriers. The older pertussis vaccine has caused some major scares (substantial disability and in some cases, death) and the new vaccine is only 80% effective. Dr. Hoffmann-Smith recommends a delayed schedule, only giving 1 shot at a time … 6 months, 8 months, 14 months and a 5 year old booster.

Pneumococcus (Prevar) – A relatively new vaccine. Considered experimental by some.
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – wait to see track record of vaccine

Rotovirus – Rarely severe and very treatable (flu like symptoms). Worst case scenario would be hospitalization for dehydration related to vomitting and diarrhea. Vaccine is relatively new and side effects are unknown.
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – one to consider skipping

MMR – This vaccines is comprised of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (live attenuated viruses). Quite a bit of controversy surrounds the MMR vaccine. Currently it can’t be separated so if parents opt to get one, they get them all. The safest option seems to be delaying the vaccine since the risk of contracting these diseases is quite low. When given it is beneficial to also have a high dose of Vitamin A (75,000 IU) since it is a live virus.
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – begin sequence around age 3 or 4, spaced out by at least 6 months

Varicella (chickenpox) – This vaccine is being somewhat encouraged, because it has been known to help fight shingles later on in life. Chickenpox is much more dangerous in adults; not so much for kids. This vaccine hasn’t been around very long, so long-term studies of side effects are unknown.
Dr. Hoffmann-Smith’s Recommendation – consider vaccinating if chickenpox hasn’t been contracted by age 10

His overall recommendation was to weigh the risk of the disease versus the risk of the vaccine. Good advice. Other resources/articles I have run across in regard to vaccinations:
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  1. says

    I have thoroughly enjoyed each part of your posts on vaccines. Seriously. And just when I started to do some serious research of my own (hey, I'm easily distracted, too)… I found out that I don't have a say. All NICU babies MUST recieve their vaccinations before leaving the hospital. Next month, when I tour the NICU and meet with the neonatologists, I plan to raise some questions on this policy.

  2. says

    This is great information! Thank you! Probably the only one I would suggest you really consider is the Rotavirus vaccine. 2 of my good friends had their babies end up in the hospital with very serious Rotavirus infections in the first year of their little lives. It was pretty scary. Both of our kids had the vaccine (which when they suggested it I knew nothing about it but agreed…dur.) and after seeing those 2 families go through their ordeals I was glad. Just some food for thought! Your commitment to research amazes me :)