Thursday, April 15, 2010

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

Let me start with that.
We've not really had a strong opinion one way or the other regarding vaccinations for Noah. I figure that it is the responsible choice to provide him the healthiest path we can choose for him while he can't make his own decisions. We figure we will do all the mainstream ones - measles, mumps, rubella, pneumonia, hepatitis B, etc. - and discuss as it occurs whether we will do the new/optional ones - rotavirus, chicken pox, flu, etc.
I should also say that the Peds group that we go to requires the traditional shots or they will not treat your child. We really like/trust them as they are the largest and most accessible practice in Knoxville, and they didn't get that way because they are terrible doctors & nurses. But to that I also say that just because all the other cool parents are doing it does not mean that it is for us and our child. I am sure we will make many different choices for Noah than a lot of mainstream folks choose...not because we're better, just because we are different.

Which brings me to my recent frustration.

 We opted to have Noah take the Rotarix vaccine which prevents the rotavirus - vomiting, diarrhea, severe dehydration -  in children. We did this in part because my niece, AL, was very sick with it when she was a baby and had to be hospitalized due to dehydration. Scary, right? And protectively, we didn't want this for the baby boy.
We went in for Noah's six month well visit and for his next round of immunizations and lo and behold, they tell us that Rotarix (which he already completed at four months) has been pulled off the market by the FDA for further research.

Now, I try not to overreact, they pull things on and off the market all the time...and I would much rather they research it more than just turn a blind eye. So I did a little research of my own...Seems as though there are portions of  a pig virus, PCV1, present in the vaccine that the company doesn't know how it got in there. Supposedly PCV1 is non-threatening to humans, but PCV2 can be. They have only found PCV1, but the troubling part is they don't know how it got in there.
And this isn't the first time that a rotavirus vaccine has been pulled... in 1999 the CDC pulled RotaShield off the market because it was linked to some sort of fatal infection.

As a parent, what the heck do you do about that? It's not like Noah can untake the vaccine. Chances are it is harmless and nothing will come of it, but the fact that he has something inside of him that even has the potential to be harmful makes my skin crawl. I can assure you that we will research and think twice before we go vaccinating him with anything anymore, regardless of what the AAP recommends. (Sorry, Erika, I know you will strongly disagree, and that's okay.)
I hate to think like that because I consider myself a pretty level-headed and practical person, but it's just not safe to sign the dotted line until you know all the details.
Not when my baby is involved.

The lesson here?
Be informed. Know what you are signing up for. Consider your options. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what suits you and your family best. Try not to overreact when things don't go as planned. Prepare yourself when it goes awry. Because most likely, it will happen at least once.
You may just have to go against the grain. If you are educated on the matter and feel strongly about it, do it. It's your life, your children, your choice.

Side-note: If it were up to me we would live deep in the woods using natural and homeopathic remedies, eat non-processed foods, and live off the land. Oh, to be one with nature and our Creator...


  1. Whaat? Adam got Rotarix like one month ago. Agh.

  2. Yes. It's nothing to be overly alarmed about, but it's just frustrating. When you are making responsible decisions for your child you hope that other people involved are being responsible as well.
    Google it...the FDA and CDC will tell you allll about it.

  3. I did. At first I thought, "Great, my kosher baby has a pig virus," but then I saw it's just a virus that affects pigs... which still irks me, but what can you do?