On Immunizations

So, it’s been awhile since I discussed immunizations on my blog.  Some of you will remember reading about my concerns with the current immunization schedule promoted by pediatricians, which I wrote about here, here and here (the second post is particularly lengthy as I was in the middle of my quandry on what to do).  Lee and I took quite a journey in our decision on how to vaccinate Landon and how to continue vaccinations for Sloan and Tia.  I’m still on that journey a bit, actually.

For the most part, we’ve stayed true to our convictions with Landon and we’ve vaccinated him completely different than the first two.  He has not received more than two vaccinations at a time since his disasterous two month check up, except in the case of the MMR vaccination, which is a combo of three that my doctor was unable to split for us.  But, when he had to receive the MMR, he received no other vaccinations on the same day.

This was a very comfortable schedule for me.  It meant we had to return to the peds office a little more frequently as I wanted at least a month in between shots in order for his little body to be able to process the inoculations properly.  But, despite the fact that we delayed and held off on a few shots, Landon is now, at 20 months, completely up to date on all his vaccinations.  And I feel like we did it on a schedule that was healthier and safer for his little body.

The only vaccination he has not received, however, and the one he absolutely will not receive, is the chicken pox vaccination.  (Well, that and rotovirus, which I just think is the most ridiculous vaccination they’ve come up with yet).  I listened to a recording yesterday, which discussed the dangers of the chicken pox vaccination and it further confirmed to me that Landon will not be receiving that shot.  And at this point, Tia will not receive the booster for it, in the hopes that she will get a mild case of the illness when she is young.

It makes me sick that Sloan has received all the chicken pox shots, knowing what I do now.  I wanted to attach the recording to this post, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.  If you’re interested in hearing it, leave me your email and I’ll forward it to you.

My concern with the chicken pox vaccination is the fact that it is not proven to be effective for lifetime immunization.  It’s only shown to be effective for about ten years.  Which puts children at risk for getting chicken pox or shingles later in life, which is much more dangerous and serious than getting it as a child.

So children will now need boosters for the chicken pox for the rest of their lives.  Where is the logic in that?  Getting chicken pox naturally, however, is proven to give a lifetime immunity to the illness.  And, given the fact that the mortailty rate of chicken pox is extremely low, the vaccine seems unjustified.

This recording gave an explanation for why the chicken pox vaccination came into effect that I found interesting.  I’m not sure if there is complete validity in this explanation, but I think it’s worth knowing and researching more (which I will be doing).  The doctor speaking gives the explanation that the chicken pox vaccination was originally developed for leukemia patients as it was extremely dangerous for them to get chicken pox due to their comprimised immune system.

But pharmaceutical companies would not make money if only cancer patients were innoculated, so they began innoculating all children.  Now, do I think that doctors are vaccinating all children simply because of a money issue?  No, I don’t.  I don’t believe that those in charge of implemeting these immunizations are soley out for the dollars.  I do think, however, that there are factors that played into the decision to make the chicken pox vaccination mandatory that had more to do than protecting children from a childhood illness that is not known to be fatal.  I also think that making an immunization like the chicken pox mandatory is a bit hasty given what little they knew/know about it’s long term effects.

It makes me angry that enrolling my child in school will now be more difficult simply because I am making the choice to do what I think is best for him.  Vaccinating for the chicken pox is, in my opinion, unwarranted and unnecessary.  I do not feel like it should be a mandatory shot.  Parents deserve the right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their children for something as minor as the chicken pox.  Putting us in the position where we feel threatened is unfair.

So what are your thoughts on vaccination and on the chicken pox shot specifically?   I know this is a heated topic and people feel strongly about both sides.  I hope there can be some discourse in the comments and that we can be open to differing opinions.  So give me your thoughts!  I really want to know what others think…


  1. We are doing somewhat the same schedule for the twins. They too only get 2 shot at a time. We waited too long and missed out on the timing for the rotovirus and so glad I did. We declined the Hep shot when they were newbies in the hospital. We will decline the flu vaccine and the chicken pot one too. I will hold off on the MMR and by the time they are old enough, it will be split up again which is ok. Nate is fully vaxed and wish I would have waited and select vaxed him too. I am glad I know better now!

  2. We vaccinate fully, and on schedule, which is just what I’m most comfortable with based on the research and reading that I’ve done.

    However, we don’t do flu vaccines and definitely won’t be doing the H1N1 that they’re supposedly going to be offering in school.

  3. Lynn,
    I had forgotten that we did decline the Hep B vaccine. Originally, my plan was to have him receive that vaccination in time to start kindergarten, but since I will have to deal with the hassle of paperwork anyway because we’re choosing to skip the Chicken pox vaccination, we may skip that one altogether. I’m on the fence.

    Nicole, I totally respect your choice. Ultimately, I think it’s important that parents do their research and make the decision that feels comfortable for their family and their children. Whether you vaccinate on schedule, off schedule or not at all, the fact is, you are simply doing what you feel is best for your child. We cannot dispute that.

    I’m on the fence about the flu shot. My first inclination is to say no, because of the fact that there is really no guarantee of protection from the flu and it seems silly to inject them with a strain of the virus that may not benefit them at all. However, after all of us having had the full blown flu last year, I’m wondering if the benefit outweighs the risk. Because I’ve never been sicker or more miserable in my life – and Sloan was very, very sick. Luckily we caught it early enough with Tia and Landon and got the Tamiflu for them, but the rest of us suffered miserably. So we’re going to have to think hard about that one. I will decline the H1N1 vaccination, though. I’m with you on that one…

  4. We have chosen not to vaccinate our children at all… this is a descion we made after all the research we have done. We feel that if ever where going to vaccinate we would wait until the kids were 6-9 years old… when the blood brain barrier is fully formed and the risk complications is reduced. As far as the chicken pox, flu vacc. and don’t forget Gardisl the “cancer vaccine” more apporiately the STD vaccine we wil never give those to our children! And frankly to make any of these manditory is crazy!
    I know alot of people don’t agree with what we have decided to do… and I do support you Kelli in your choice to spilt the vacc… that is the safest way to do it if you are going to, but this is our EDUCATED choice!
    Thank you for your blog on this. Love and miss you!

  5. I forgot about how sick you all were last winter…I know that was awful for you all!

    My big hangup is what you said…if there was a way to guarantee that the 3 strains they vaccinate against would be the 3 that for sure cropped up during flu season, I’d have less resistance.

  6. People tend to feel strongly about their opinion on this subject, but for me when I asked my parents their thoughts (dad is a retired doctor, mom is a non-practicing RN) they simply told me that because none of us have ever really seen these diseases in action people forget how awful they are. I do believe that most parents only want the very best for their children and act accordingly and I don’t judge them for that; however our decisions in life (good and bad) affect everyone not just our family unit. Touchy subject for sure but at least people are talking about it.

  7. This is great timing! I am not totally convinced that all vaccinations are bad (though a lot of them combined with the timing of them seem pretty ridiculous; not to mention the lack of study that goes into them by the CDC). Like you, I’ve opted to do the slower pace of vaccinations with Chase. We declined the Hep B when he was born too. But my problem now is that I am enrolling Cooper in preschool and the county REQUIRES the kids to have proof from a doctor that they have been vaccinated with Chicken Pox vaccine. Now, with Cooper, it’s too late. We didn’t know this stuff back then and I can’t reverse it. I won’t get boosters for him though. I would really like to listen to that message on the chicken pox vaccine before I get to the point where I have to choose for Chase. My question is, what are you having to do to get around this with school enrollment? Luckily, by the time Chase is ready for school we will be back in St. Louis! Thanks for the topic!!

  8. Tiff,
    I don’t know the rules/laws everywhere, but from what I’ve been told, your child cannot be denied an education based on lack of immunizations. That’s one of those intimidation factors that makes me angry.

    There are exemption papers that you can sign to get around the issue. I think there are a couple of different kinds, but the one I will use is the religious exemption form, which essentially says that due to your religious beliefs you have chosen to withhold vaccinations. Because the Bible commands us to take care of our bodies, I feel completely at ease signing this waiver.

    Now, how much of a fuss schools may put up, I’m not sure. But from what I’ve been told, school districts are supposed to accept these documents, no questions asked. They are official exemption documents. You may want to check your area, because I would assume it would be similar.

  9. I wanted to start off by saying that my feelings on this subject might be different if I was not able to breastfeed my children from birth. I nursed all of them a minimum of 8 months, a couple of them more than that. SO MANY immunities are passed to chlidren through their mom’s milk and it is my current belief that vaccinations are completely unnecessary during the breastfeeding months/years.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t very educated on vaccinations when our first, McKennah, was born and we were going to a pediatrician that required vaccinations for you to see him (which is the case with MANY pediatricians). So she pretty much had them all, although I asked that they wait until the 2 week appt to start them. I did not feel right about giving ANY right there in the hospital. Our second Eva, began the vaccinations and schedule at the same pediatrician, but we moved before she was one year old and I didn’t get a new pediatrician for almost 2 years. Our family rarely deals with serious illnesses and if it was something I felt needed attention, I took them to urgent care during that time (which cost the same as a ped visit). So Eva did not finish many of the vaccs.

    During our time without a formal pediatrician, I researched a lot more and began looking for naturopathic/homeopathic physicians who could see our whole family, not just the kids. I really loved having a family doctor when I was growing up, and wanted to be able to to have that same environment. I also was tired of doctors wanting to throw meds at every single little problem and at least wanted to know what natural remedies and options we had. Some naturopaths refuse to give vaccinations though, and I wasn’t sure if that exactly was the answer though. And many nat/homeopathic offices will ONLY see you when there is a problem, which I was not a fan of. I still liked having well-child check ups once a year to monitor growth, etc. So what to do??

    By the time I was pregnant with my third, Jadyn, we had landed at Webster Family Physicians, with Dr. Christian Wessling (and a couple nurse practitioners). I have LOVED this office. They really work with the parents to decide what, if any, vaccs to do and they separate and spread them out if you do choose to do them. Once the Dr. looked at Eva’s vaccination schedule that she had started but not finished, he recommended only 2 of them to finish because they truly were life-threatening issues if she ever got them. Jadyn has not received any vaccs to this point as I have been nursing her. Dr. Wessling’s general view is that they are unnecessary until school age, but even then, not required. I, myself, never got any until I was 5 or 6, and I have been a pretty healthy person my whole life. At that, I’m sure I didn’t get the plethora of vaccs that they give now-days. (Side note: Dr. Wessling’s practice is one of the only naturopathic offices in Missouri, to my knowledge, that still do yearly well-child check ups. And when I had a bad sinus infection earlier this year, the nurse gave me a natural remedy as a first treatment but also a back-up anti-biotic prescription in case it got the point of needing it. I appreciated that so much).

    I believe the idea of the vaccination is good and I believe in trying to protect our children, but I think that dr.’s give way too many, way too early. There will probably only be a couple that Jadyn ever receive. We are also choosing to homeschool our kids right now, which helps with the “school required vaccs” end of things. But my chiropractor gave me a Missouri State Vaccination Exemption form that I can use if/when we send our kids to school and they don’t have the “proper” vaccs. I think that it’s for mainly religious reasons, which I’m fine with. We’ll see how long that kind of form will work in the current presidential administration-ha).

    I don’t judge people who do vaccinate, as that would be pretty hypocritical at this point. 🙂 But we have chosen a different path right now. Fortunately our kids have never had severe reactions to vaccinations, but if they did, I would probably do without them all together. The only thing that is in the back of my mind concerning giving more vaccinations is if we ever do family missions trips overseas, or if one of my kids may want to be a full-time missionary some day. We’ll have to lean on God for direction on that. 🙂

    I agree though with Estela…anything made mandatory is purely ridiculous.

  10. Dani Siebert says

    I feel very hostile towards vaccines right now with everything going on with Christian and being diagnosed with Autism, so please forgive me if I say anything offensive. Just know that it’s coming from a mother’s heart that is fighting for her son and his health.
    We vaccinated Christian exactly as the doctor told us he needed to be. We never asked questions and trusted that the vaccine schedule was safe. While I was pregnant with Daniel, I was told of a friend’s child becoming ill after immunizations. So we did our research on every vaccine, why children got them, what the prevented and anything else we could need to know about them. Craig and I put together a list of vaccines we said Daniel would get, and ones that he would not get until he was older. We also decided he would never get more than 2 at a time. That’s the background of what we did.

    Now, to present time: When we were told that Christian was Autistic (just 3 weeks ago), many people asked us if we thought vaccines had anything to do it. Initially, we said no, because we didn’t really notice strange behaviors from him until about 6 months ago (at that point we didn’t know all the ins and outs about autism). As I began reading more books about Autism and what they affect, I began realizing that all his signs started years ago. I read about the MMR vaccine and the effects of a child getting that vaccine. Many parents of autistic children say that it was after the MMR that their children changed. My heart dropped after I read that. I then had to know when Christian had that shot, and when his health began declining. I pulled out all of our medical records (I am strange about saving EVERYTHING so I had all of that stuff)and I pulled out his immunization records. I compared the two, and Christian was also healthy until that MMR shot at 13 months. One week after getting that shot, he was back in the doctor’s office with his first ear infection and high fever. The colds continued until he was 16 months. At 16 months, he got his second ear infection because of the colds. That ear infection last 3 months. In that 3 months, he was on a new set of antibiotics every 2 weeks. In December, he received 2 more vaccines (I had no idea that you are NOT to give a child vaccines while on antibiotics because the antibiotics lower the antioxidants in the body and the body doesn’t have ability the fight off the virus inserted by vaccines.) A week after he received those vaccines, he stopped talking. It never crossed our minds that it was the vaccines because we were told that he stopped talking because of his ear infections. But the timing of all of it is way too close. He received 2 more vaccines in January (again, still on antibiotics). After those shots, he broke out in eczema and continued to be ill until March. He then received the flu shot this past December. Like I said earlier, we didn’t noticed strange behaviors from him until 6 months before his diagnosis; which would be around the same time he received the flu shot.
    Through all of this, we never thought twice about the timing of the vaccines and his health. But the timing of the shots, and when his health declined is way way too close. I can’t help but think that vaccines contributed to his autism. We do believe that children can have a genetic disposition to autism, so we don’t think vaccines made him Autistic. But we do believe that it was the vaccines that contributed to bringing those symptoms of Autism out and making him sick. Daniel did not have the MMR (that was on the list of vaccines we said that he would not have until he is much older)and Daniel has not had any of the issues that Christian has, and is a very healthy child. Looking back on it now and seeing how Daniel is developing differently that Christian was at this same age, it makes me wonder how I didn’t see any of it earlier. I am so glad that Daniel didn’t get the same schedule and he will not get his vaccines until he is older. It’s hard as a mother to not beat yourself up and wonder why I didn’t do the same thing for Christian as I did for Daniel. Had I known what I know now, Christian would not have received his vaccines the way he did. It just makes me wonder if I could have prevented this for Christian. Doctors will tell you over and over again that vaccines are harmless and do not contribute to autism, but now that I have a Autistic child, I have to differ from them. I hope every parent just does their research on vaccines. I’m not saying don’t vaccinate, just know what each vaccine is and why they are receiving it.
    Sorry this was SSOOOO long, but I really feel strongly about creating Autism awareness. If I had only known this was happening to other families, I would have treated vaccines differently with Christian. I hope that we can help other families just think twice about doing their research and being informed for their children.

  11. Dani – Thanks for your insight. Your perspective on this issue is definately more unique than many others. I would tend to agree with you that there are too many signs that point to vaccines and the increase in autism being related in some way. Like you, I don’t belive vaccines cause autism, but I do believe that vaccinations can be a contributing factor in many cases today.

    I’m so srry for all you’re going through, but I’m very rpoud of you for doing your research and for digging your heels in and fighting for your child. You guys are the perfect parents for Christian!

  12. I am so sorry that you had to go thru all of that Dani! I wonder who is the Dr that gave your child vaccines while he was on Antibiotics? A child should never be given a vaccine while on Antibiotics or if they are suffering from any form of yeast infection, this can be in the form or skin or intestinal. there are other do not vaccinate now symptoms but those are the big majors!
    Any dr that is treating you or your child for anything should always give youthe benifits risks and alternatives to what they are doing. anitbiotics should have been on the list of risks! i am so very sorry for you!

  13. Melissa Cable says

    Kelli- we do similar to you, but I have an excellent book recommendationfor anyone investigating. It isn’t written by a fanatic, but a dr. that has found a very happy median, I highly recommend The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears.

  14. And you can go to Dr. Sears website and find the slower schedule we’ve all been talking about.

  15. jason rhodes says

    Wow, this is such a hot topic these days and rightly so. Kelli I can’t say that I am a regular reader but when I saw your post I had to look into it. I feel like I can give some insight as this was a huge issue with Jen and I when we had AJ. I am currently going on my 10th year of school studying human biology and physiology but when it came time to decide on a vaccination schedule we found this descion surprisingly, extremely hard! Jen did her research and I did mine, and you should have seen the battle between to self described “science nerds”. In the end we choose not to vaccinate Aj. I happen to be the one that was “pro” vaccination, and I must tell you that it has took some time for me to become soild in this desc ion. We have since poured over countless research articles to try and understand this issue because of it’s importance to our children and the children of current and future patients. One of the most important issue is something call the TH1 to TH2 shift. I will not get to techincal, but you can look at it this way; when you get lets say chicken poxs your body formulates a TH1 antibody response which means you have life time immunity. When you get a vaccine it causes a TH2 response which is a short term “emergency” response thus the need for boosters. The problem lays in the fact that when we were children we recieved roughly 10, today if followed it is around 40. This continuous stimulation of the TH2 emergency response has caused a shift in how our bodies responed to its enviroment. This is seen by the the rapid increase of allergies and asthma seen over the last 20 years (75% percent increase overall and 160% in children under five).
    And don’t dare bring a peanut on school grounds these days who will clear the cafeteria.
    One other thing that was eye opening was when AJ had a recurring cough for 2 months. We were trying everything to help him naturally, but when nothing helped we took him to the pediatrician. He set us down and look us straight in the eye and said that he didn’t know what was going on (I can appreciate that)and said that he would wright us a prescription for allergia and 2 other medications and said that he would need to be a allegria for now on, he was 1 1/2 at the time. Well we decided that we weren’t going to do that look into it futher and found milk to be a huge allergen to him and put him on almond milk, and no cough since.I share this to say that we often put blind faith in our doctors and for good reason many times. I wasn’t mad at him for that “suggestion”(and you must remember it is their suggestion but it is child0, but I became awhere of you we were asking for that suggestion. A Medical Doctor training and paradigm is in Rx so when you ask them their professional opinion you will receive the best of their training which is Rx, this goes for vaccines as well, as this is their training and they aren’t wrong we just have to remember who we are asking. I can’t believe I have typed this much but then again it is a powerful subject. As far as laws for exemption if any school receive a single penny in gov ei public money has to give exemption, private can do as they please. I applaud everyone looking into this so deeply, their is so much more but I’ll stop here. By the way, yes kelli minivans are indead hot.

  16. Wow Jason you are dead on! that is the exact point! everything you said is correct and some of the main reasons we treat our children naturally! they have never had an ear infection nor are allergic to anything! Karis has some minor excema but we are able to keep it undercontrol with diet (worse in winter when it is very dry and on days we go to the pool in the summer from the chlorine). And your point on the allergies that are on the rise is a great point… did you know that we are told not to give babies/kids nuts or eggs until a certain aget due to the potiental allergie interaction… however eggs and nuts are in most vaccines! Hmmm makes you think!
    Ok well I can go on forever but I would like to say that I am so happy for this discussion to know that we are not alone! I only ask my patients to get informed and always get the BENIFITS RISKS AND ALTERNATIVES to everything you do at a doctors office! most of the time we only get the benefits and the risks are downplayed and incomplete… rarely are we ever given an alternative!

  17. Great discussion, guys. This is a very important topic and there’s a lot of false information on there, both in the pro-vaccination camp and the anti-vaccination camp. It’s good to have healthy discourse so that parents can make educated decisions on what’s best for their children. You guys are the best. And Jason, I’m doing my part to make it known to the world that minivans are hot. 🙂 Glad you agree…


  1. […] On Immunizations: I ventured into another hot topic and posted our decision to alter and withhold some immunizations for our children. […]

  2. […] (we are skipping or delaying several vaccinations.  You can read about why we decided to do that here.)  So when the nurse came in, I told her that I didn’t want Tia to receive that shot.  Her […]