Explanation of Immunizations Schedules for Dads

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Immunizations are a very hot topic today for Dad’s and one that many parents have vehement opinions about. Although studies haven’t supported fears that immunizations are responsible for the increase in children diagnosed with some form of autism, a brain disorder that now affects 1 in 105 babies in the United States, many parents believe the increase in immunizations and increase in autism are tied together.

The number of injections a baby receives in his first year can seem overwhelming. Here is the average newborn schedule of immunizations (some of the series are continued after the first birthday).

Vaccine Before Leaving Hospital 2 Months 4 Months 6 Months 1 Year
Hepatitis B x x x
Rotavirus x x x
Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis x x x
Haemophilus influenzae type B x x x x
Pneumococcal x x x x
Inactivated poliovirus x x x
Influenza x
Measles/mumps/rubella x
Varicella x
Hepatitis A x

Should dads skip some shots for their babies?

Immunizations are so controversial in some circles today that you may consider giving the baby some but not all of the recommended vaccines, possibly skipping influenza, hepatitis, and chickenpox vaccines and splitting the measles-mumps-rubella injection into three separate shots.

Talk seriously with your pediatrician about the advisability of this, and check with your local board of education, because some schools may require certain immunizations before your child is allowed to start school.

How dads decide to spread a baby’s shots out

Many parents compromise on the immunization question by spacing the immunizations over a longer time period than that recommended by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). Taking more time may necessitate more visits to the pediatrician than are normally scheduled but can make it easier to determine which injection is causing a reaction if a problem occurs.

Pediatrician Robert Sears published an alternative vaccination schedule in his book The Vaccine Book (Little, Brown and Company). Be aware, however, that the AAP has vigorously protested his alternative schedule and continues to support the current guidelines. Discuss alternative schedules and the pros and cons thoroughly with your medical practitioner before making up your mind about vaccinations.

How dads should take a stand on the vaccination debate

If you decide not to vaccinate your child, it’s important to know the risks of taking this stand. The incidences of certain nearly eradicated diseases, such as pertussis (better known as whooping cough), have skyrocketed in the last few years. In 2012, there were 48,277 reported cases of pertussis in the United States, the most since 1955. Around 50 percent of babies younger than 12 months who develop this disorder need hospitalization.

Even common and considered-mild diseases such as chickenpox can cause serious illness. Before the chickenpox vaccine, more than 100,000 people — mostly children — were hospitalized each year from chickenpox complications, and around 100 died.

When you choose not to vaccinate your child, you’re depending on herd immunity — also known as community immunity — to keep your child from getting a common disease. Herd immunity means that a high percentage of the community is immunized, which decreases the risk of transmission to those who aren’t immunized. This protects your child only as long as a high percentage of children around you are immunized.

If you live in an area where more children aren’t immunized, your child has a much higher risk of developing a communicable disease. Outbreaks of pertussis and other infectious diseases have occurred in these types of areas.

To vaccinate or not is your choice as a parent. Weigh all the facts carefully — not just the hype, of which there is plenty on both sides of the debate — before making your decision.