Vaccine Schedule & Definitions
Our practice follows the immunization guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. For descriptions of these vaccines and the diseases they protect against, please visit www.immunizationinfo.org , www.vaccinesafety.edu, or www.immunize.org.
For detailed informational sheets published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis.
- DtaP: Diptheria, tetanus (lockjaw) and pertussis (whopping cough)
- Polio/IPV: A serious paralyzing disease.
- PCV-13/Pneumonia: A serious blood, lung and brain infection.
- Hep B: Hepatitis B. A serious liver disease.
- HIB: Hemophilus influenzas type b. A serious brain, throat and blood infection.
- RotaVirus: A contagious virus that can cause gastroenteritis (with severe diarrhea).
- MMR: Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
- Varicella: Chicken pox.
- Hep A: Acute infectious disease of the liver.
- HPV/Gardasil: Human Papilloma Virus.
- Meningitis: A disease causing inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
Reactions to the Immunizations
Approximately 15 % of babies experience a reaction to immunizations. These reactions could include:
- Low grade fever
These reactions can be treated with Tylenol every four hours as needed (refer to dosage chart). These reactions are not dangerous and usually a sign of a healthy immune system which is being stimulated to produce protective antibodies. Occasionally, a hard lump may be present at the site of the intramuscular injection. This is also an immune reaction and a sign that the immunizations are working. This lump can last from days to weeks and will resolve spontaneously. If your child experiences overall lethargy or actual tenderness, redness, or warmth at the injection site, call us immediately 858-541-0181.
The Controversy with Vaccines and Autism: Our Stance On Pediatric Immunizations
Common questions we are asked concerning the standard vaccines: their risks, possible association with autism, and alternate vaccination schedules.
First, let us say that the vaccines have been thoroughly studied and are safe. There is no evidence to suggest any link to autism- both in the MMR vaccine and from thimerosal (which is not currently present in vaccines). This section is to give you more information about these confusing issues and to present our feeling on vaccines. We do support all the immunizations such that all our providers have immunized their own children using the standard immunization schedule.
Overview on Autism
Autism is a delay in the development of multiple basic functions including communication, language, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. As our understanding of the disorder heightened, the diagnostic criteria for autism changed and in 1994, autism was now defined as autism spectrum disorder- comprising spectrum of disorders felt to be on a continuum. This could range from mild awkward social skills with no language deficits (often diagnosed as Asperger’s syndrome) to severe global developmental delays (classic autism).
Since the revision of this diagnostic criteria, autism has been one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in the world- affecting somewhere in between 1 in 150-400 people. It is prevalent in all areas of the world. Autism may seem like a modern disease, but it is not. Reports dating back to the 1700’s can be found of people now believed to have suffered from autism. In the 1950’s, the disorder officially was named. It was not until 1994 that rates of autism began to dramatically rise. Studies suggest that the majority of this is from increased reporting and better knowledge of the disorder, more so than a disproportionate increase in number of cases. Thousands of people previously thought to have learning disabilities, mental retardation or ill-defined psychiatric illness residing in institutions now are recognized as suffering with autism.
To date, we do not have a cause or a cure for autism but have marked progress into greater understanding of the disease.
Autism: What we know
Autism has a strong genetic component. Identical twins with a sibling with autism have a 75% chance of having the disorder while fraternal twins have only a 3% chance. Autism is more common in several genetic syndromes and more common with parents with autism. Autism is also four times more likely to occur in boys. Autism is believed to be from several different genes rather than one single genetic mutation, making it much harder to identify. Prenatal genetic factors and insults soon after birth are believed to play a role and have yet to be identified. Environmental factors cannot be ignored, and this is also being heavily investigated and studies are now underway to look into the medical burden of pollutants, pesticides, hormones in our food, PCB’s and heavy metals.
Although we do not know what causes autism, we do have lots of evidence to suggest that the immunizations including the MMR does not cause autism.
Does The MMR cause Autism?
No. Even though it is believed that genetic factors or insults soon after birth account for the majority of cases of autism, most children are usually not diagnosed until after 18 months of age. This is after children fail to meet their developmental milestones. Developmental experts believe the majority of children often had subtle signs earlier which were not diagnosed because there is such a large range of normal development. Parents often disagree with this. A small minority of children have what has been termed “regression” autism where development was totally normal until a relatively acute onset of developmental delay. This spawned the start of the parental concern about the vaccines (both MMR or thimerosal containing vaccines) being the cause as these are given prior to the diagnosis of most cases of autism.
This concern gained rapid momentum in 1998 after a study of 12 autistic children was published in Britain hypothesizing that the MMR caused intestinal inflammation and an autoimmune reaction which could have caused autism. Since that time, numerous studies from around the world looking at thousands of cases have shown that there is no evidence for any relationship between the vaccines and autism. The authors of the original paper suggesting a link, recanted their hypothesis in 2004 due to lack of sufficient evidence. The Institute of Medicine, CDC and the Academy of Pediatrics after independent review have all issued statements about the safety of the vaccine and it not being linked to autism. Although reviews of “regressive” autism from hundreds of children showed signs did not show up with 2, 4 or 6 months of the immunization, there are still case reports of infants developing autism shortly after the MMR vaccine. This has also happened after unrelated febrile illnesses.
These case reports are outnumbered by all of the scientific evidence but unfortunately, the vaccine controversy has all the makings of a great story: greedy rich pharmaceutical companies making billions at the expense of our children, a giant cover up, and the uncaring medical establishment favoring public health rather than our individual kids. Great stories make great headlines and spur controversy. In this case, our position is that the evidence is clear: the MMR vaccine has no clear association with autism.
Does Thimerosal cause Autism?
No. Thimerosal is a form of mercury which was used as an antimicrobial in the equipment used to manufacture vaccines. It was banned from being used as a preservative by state law over 10 years ago. Our vaccines (all of them) have no thimerosal, not even trace amounts. Thimerosal has also been studied and has never been shown to be related to autism.
Do too many vaccines at once cause Autism?
No. This has also been studied in very small studies. Presently, the standard schedule calls for six immunizations at 2, 4, and 6 months with three immunizations at 12 months and three immunizations at 15 months. Many in the holistic and naturopathic community are concerned that too many shots at once too early could be harmful to the immature immune system. This is a theory which has never made sense to us. Physiologically, babies’ immune systems are mature at term. In the first year of life, the average infant who is exposed to other children (play group or day care) will have an average of 9 virus infections (from upper respiratory, to febrile illness, to GI illness). These are live viruses. The immunizations in the first year are purified proteins, not live infections.
New research shows that babies who play more in the dirt (with more bacterial exposure) have less chance of getting allergies and eczema. Many researchers in the immunologic community believe that we are not exposing our kids to enough foreign contacts and this is leading to more allergies later in life from a weakened immune system. Giving five vaccines at once is not too much for a baby’s immune system and we would say rather is helping to boost it.