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Risks in Delaying Childhood Vaccinations: August 20, 2012

Pediatricians are seeing a new trend, one that is troubling in terms of childhood diseases. For various reasons, some parents are delaying or altering their child’s vaccination schedule.

Two busy boys keep mom Marina Bloetz bustling. Life is full of things-to-do, including getting their childhood vaccinations.

“Well, we were a little late with the second one, you know, time consuming and working, but I think it’s important to have them,” says Bloetz.

It’s a trend nationwide, and not a healthy one. The Journal of Pediatrics found the number of parents delaying or limiting their kids’ vaccinations is on the rise, tripling from 2006 to 2009.

“With the first one, you know you keep track with everything.  The second one it’s a little tricky with a full-time job,” says Bloetz.

The CDC recommends more than two dozen shots from birth to age six. They protect children from 14 different diseases. Health experts say it’s minor in comparison to getting sick. 

“The diseases are so dramatically disastrous for the children if they get the worst case scenario,” says Lee Memorial Health System pediatrician Dr. Nancy Witham.

Dr. Witham encourages parents to stick with the program.

“To protect from a bunch of preventable diseases; the menu of immunizations that we’ve chosen is because we know that those diseases have particular problems,” says Dr. Witham.

Some parents are ‘shot limiters’ who don’t like their child getting several shots in one visit or fear an adverse reaction from a group of shots. In fact, when vaccinations are authorized to be given together, they’ve been tested to ensure they’re safe as a set.

“That piece of information should make it a little bit more comfortable to go through with the schedule as its been written out versus feeling like, oh gosh I need to space them to be kinder to my child,” says Dr. Witham.

Ultimately Bloetz pulled the trigger on her boy’s shots.

“Because I think it protects them against worse illnesses,” says Bloetz.

It goes back to something parents everywhere say everyday - safety first.