On Monday morning, many health reporters and news stations covered the release of a survey published in Pediatrics that addressed “Alternative Vaccination Schedule Preferences Among Parents of Young Children.” The survey results, which are a representation of 748 respondents, seem to provide a better understanding of who is using an alternative vaccination schedule, why they are choosing to do so, and what influences are swaying parents to either follow the recommended schedule or adopt their own alternative.
As we engage with other parents, it’s important that we not assume that those who use an alternative schedule are opposed to immunizations. In this particular survey, an alternative vaccinator was a parent who failed to follow the exact recommendations of the CDC, regardless of their reasoning. This survey may have even encompassed parents who skipped or delayed a vaccine because of vaccine shortages, illness or missed appointments or, more likely, parents who consciously chose to delay or decline one or more vaccines.
While it is true that 13% of the survey respondents reported following an alternative vaccination schedule, it was also noted that only 2% reported refusing all vaccines for their young children. That leaves the remaining 11% who have obviously deviated from the schedule, but are still vaccinating their children to some extent.
Interestingly enough, I get to hear from parents almost daily, through my work on this blog and in reading comments on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page. What I have found is that many of the parents who admit to declining, or delaying, one or more vaccines, share many of the same concerns.
“We give too many vaccines in one visit.”
“We give too many vaccines when the child is still so young.”
“I don’t feel this disease poses a serious risk to my child.”
“I am not convinced that this particular vaccine is safe or effective.” Read more…