The Hows and Whys of Baby Vaccines

I've heard there's an alternate schedule for vaccines. Is this a safer way to go?

Alternatives to the standard immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (see "Schedule for Vaccines, 0-4 Years") are attractive to parents who believe that some vaccines are unnecessary or that so many vaccines at such a young age will overwhelm a baby's immune system. Alternate schedules, promoted online and in popular health books, suggest delaying the start of immunizations, avoiding some shots altogether, and spreading others out over the first few years of life so a baby doesn't get more than two shots at a time.

Sounds good in theory. But it's actually playing Russian roulette with your baby's health. "When you delay vaccines, you increase the period of time during which children are susceptible to diseases vaccines can prevent," Dr. Offit says. "Certain diseases -- like Hib, pneumococcus, and pertussis -- rear their head in the first year of life, so you need to immunize infants as quickly as possible."

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment