Babies Online - The Blog

Researching Vaccinations

Click to view the Vaccine Book at Amazon.comI just surprised the nurse at my pediatrician’s office – and it won’t be the last time, I’m sure.

When she called to confirm Ashley’s 2-month well-baby visit, I asked if she could give me the names and manufacturers of the vaccines she would be receiving. “I don’t know!” the nurse said.

I asked if she could please look them up for me. She said she would have the information available when we came in for our appointment. Standing my ground, I told her that by then it would be too late, because we may wish to have specific vaccines special ordered. She said they couldn’t do that and I said I may have to go to a different pediatrician if they didn’t have our preferred brands. I explained the dangers of combining two vaccines containing aluminum, and that this could easily be avoided.

She seemed surprised but, to her credit, accommodated my request, calling me back within three minutes with the information.

Although she was surprised by my request, I was equally surprised that more parents don’t ask. Would you eat something without reading the ingredient list first? (Okay, many people do!) I wouldn’t. So I certainly wouldn’t let someone inject my daughter with something before I knew the ingredients.

Of course, having an ingredient list doesn’t mean anything if you can’t interpret it. That’s why I recommend The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert W. Sears, for any parent who cares about what goes into their baby’s body.

My husband and I carefully considered what vaccinations, if any, our daughter should have. This book, along with other titles such as What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave and Deborah Mitchell and How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Md Mendelsohn answered many of our questions.

The Vaccine Book evaluates every vaccine on the American Academy of Pediatrics vaccine schedule, explaining the diseases each prevents, and what specific vaccines are available. It also provides an ingredient list for each vaccine.

In many cases, vaccinations are available from more than one manufacturer and the ingredient list, possible side effects and efficacy may vary. My husband and I are not afraid to request specific brands which have lower concentrations of potentially toxic ingredients or have fewer potential side effects.

The biggest selling point of The Vaccine Book, in my opinion, is it does not make decisions for parents. Instead, Dr. Sears talks about the odds of getting the disease if you forego the vaccination, the potential seriousness of the disease, and the potential for side effects from the vaccine, and then lets parents draw their own conclusions. It is objective and grounded in fact, unlike many other titles on the topic.

It does include technical details and some scientific information, but you can easily skip that to get to the heart of the information. All the information is neatly organized by chapter and divided into subheads, making it easy to find what you need.

My husband and I are not opponents of vaccinations, in general, but we also were not going to merely “follow the herd” with this important health decision. Will we make sure our daughter is fully vaccinated? Probably. But we will make the choice after knowing the pros and cons, not because everybody is doing it.

After reading the book, there are certain vaccinations, such as the one to prevent Pneumococcal disease, which I wouldn’t dream of skipping. Pneumococcal disease is a common bacterial infection that can have serious consequences. We’re opting to get the Hepatitis B vaccine only because it is shown not to have many side effects, so there’s little harm in the vaccine, although the odds of an infant contracting the disease are small.

If you are on the fence about vaccinations, thinking about “cherry-picking” the innoculations you want your child to receive, or just want to know what’s in a vaccine before your child receives it, this volume is indispensable.

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