Why Delay Vaccines For Your Child?
Oct 08, 2015

It’s natural to have questions about vaccines, especially if you’re a new parent. Babies are small and vulnerable, and families just want to protect them. Vaccines can carry risks, so it’s understandable why some parents might want to delay vaccines for their children in hopes it will keep them safe. But delaying vaccines isn’t a risk-free choice. Here’s why.

Spaced-out and delayed vaccination schedules are not tested for safety.

Individuals who choose to delay or space out vaccinations are taking a risk, as these changes from the recommended schedule are not officially tested for safety. The vaccine schedule that is recommended by the CDC has been rigorously tested for safety, including instances when they recommend children receive multiple shots at the same time.

Waiting to vaccinate leaves kids vulnerable to preventable diseases.

As families, we want to protect our children as well as we can, but choosing to delay vaccination puts children at risk of contracting preventable diseases. Imagine, for example:

Amanda is born a healthy 7 lb 9 oz and 19.5 inches long. Her parents have waited for this day for a long time and are determined to do everything they can to protect her. When the nurse says it’s time for Amanda’s Hepatitis B vaccine, they hesitate. Can’t it wait? Despite the nurse’s recommendation, they delay the vaccine until Amanda is one year old.

When Amanda turns six months old, her uncle comes to visit. He greets her with a big kiss and spends hours holding her as she sleeps. Unknown to him, he is an asymptomatic carrier of hepatitis B, meaning he has the virus but doesn’t show any signs of it. Amanda’s uncle has infected her with hepatitis B.

Unfortunately, most children who contract hepatitis B develop a chronic, or life-long, infection. Amanda is no different and ultimately requires her first liver transplant while in college.

Like Amanda’s parents, we do everything we can to protect our kids from diseases, but there are some risks that you just can’t anticipate. Kids could be exposed to the disease on the playground, at school, or on a playdate. Waiting to vaccinate means rolling the dice on them getting sick before they have a chance to be protected.

Have you read:

Delaying vaccination does not reduce the risk of side effects.

Delaying or separating vaccinations does not reduce the risk of side effects from vaccines. Most side effects that do occur are minor and go away within a few days of vaccination. Waiting until a child is older or scheduling separate appointments does not change the body’s reaction to the vaccine – if any side effects are going to occur, they will happen regardless of age or other vaccinations received.

Your child will not be any better off by receiving vaccines when they are older or in separate doctor visits. In fact, delaying vaccinations puts children at further risk. The risks of serious illness from contracting vaccine-preventable diseases remain high while a child is unvaccinated.

Delaying vaccination puts additional burdens on families, the children being vaccinated, and their communities.

Delaying or spacing out vaccinations for any reason requires scheduling additional appointments. More appointments mean more time away from school or the office as well as more money in copays or doctor office fees. Many doctors who promote delaying or spacing out vaccinations do not accept insurance, which means you have to pay in full for each of those office visits. Furthermore, research has found that bringing your child back for additional visits can create more stress for them than receiving multiple shots at once.

Some children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons could get seriously sick if they catch a vaccine-preventable illness from an unvaccinated individual. These are all consequences that come with the decision to delay vaccination, in addition to the unnecessary vulnerability that it puts onto children.

If you’re a parent that is willing to vaccinate your child, why wait?

Note: This post was updated July 19, 2021. 

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