Most parents follow the standard vaccination schedule when it comes to their child’s shots. But over the past few years, a small number of families chose to delay or stagger out vaccinations… thinking it will somehow be safer. There have never been any scientific studies proving this is the case.
An important study released this week in Pediatrics shed some light on this subject. Over 1,000 children who received their childhood shots between 1993-1997 underwent extensive neurological testing between 7-10 years of age. Children who received their shots on time (10 shots by 7 months of age) were compared to those whose shots were delayed beyond the recommended series (6 or fewer shots). Factors that might affect testing – age, gender, mom’s IQ, birth weight, mom’s education and socioeconomic status – were all controlled for in testing.
The results? Kids who got their shots on time actually performed better on the neurological battery of tests than the delayed vaccination group. Let’s put this another way: Delaying shots had no impact on the child’s brain development.
So, parents who choose an “alternative” vaccination schedule to somehow protect from autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders listen up: you are not doing your child a favor.
But, there is one thing you can be certain of if you choose to delay or stagger vaccinations on a homemade schedule: It leaves the children who are the most vulnerable to these diseases at risk.
The naysayers will argue that the vaccination schedule was different back in the 90′s and the childhood vaccination series includes an additional bacterial meningitis vaccine, a stomach virus vaccine and the flu vaccine for babies. Yes, that is true. But the DTP vaccine alone back in the 90′s had a much bigger immunologic load (antigens) than the “acellular” version that is used today. So the total immunologic load of vaccines was actually greater back then than it is today.
While this is just one study, it is a big one. And hopefully, it’s one that will give some comfort to families who are concerned about shots.
Did you follow the standard vaccination schedule? Comment on this post on the Parenting Exchange.