What time is best for child vaccinations?
PORTLAND - A new study from the Oregon Health Authority shows a dramatic rise in the number of parents postponing vaccinations for their children.
Jennifer Murdock delayed most of her daughter’s shots until she turned 7.
"I wanted to be empowered in making healthy decisions for her.”
Murdock did make sure Maya had all her immunizations before heading to school. “No one wants a child to get sick and have it be their fault,” Murdock said.
For the first time, researchers at the Oregon Health Authority tracked the trend trying to determine if more parents were looking for alternative scheduling for immunizations.
“It kind of surprised us that we were able to find it and track it and that it has gone up so much,” said researcher Steve Robison.
The study, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, looked at infants birth to nine months between 2003 to 2009. Alternative vaccine schedules went from 2.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent between 2006 and 2009.
“There’s no known benefit to spacing out the shots and if you do that you’re going to be taking your child into the doctor’s office much more often,” explained Robison.
Portland pediatrician Paul Thomas works with families to establish alternative schedules.
“This is a highly controversial topic,” he said. Thomas said he sees families who have been refused care at other offices because they won’t follow the traditional schedule.
“My role is to educate and I’m able to get some families who wouldn’t immunize at all to at least have some of the more vital vaccines,” Thomas said.
The Oregon Health Authority is frustrated with the tendency to postpone vaccines and said vaccines pose the same risk as feeding your child hamburger, but parents don’t worry as much about that.