Vaccine Schedule: The Pros and Cons of Taking a Flexible Approach

Two pediatricians share conflicting views on whether it's OK to space out your baby's immunizations.

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Vaccine Schedule: A Flexible Approach

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More and more parents these days are deviating from the government's recommended vaccination schedule and either delaying some shots until their kids are closer to elementary school age or spacing out shots in more frequent office visits. Some worry that vaccines may be leading to more autism and allergies in kids or believe that it's unsafe to give their baby five shots against eight different diseases on a single day—typically recommended for 2-month-olds. Should pediatricians work with parents who want a custom-made immunization schedule, and does this approach have its risks? U.S. News asked two noteworthy members of the American Academy of Pediatrics to explain their conflicting views.

Should parents take a flexible approach to vaccination?

Yes.

Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen
Vice chair, Section on Complementary and Integrative Medicine
American Academy of Pediatrics
Pediatrician in primary care practice in Oradell, N.J.

My main argument for supporting a flexible approach is that it is more likely to increase overall vaccination rates at a time when were are seeing a critical drop in public trust in government agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that set the recommended schedule. Already, decreases in some areas in vaccine coverage may have led to measles and Haemophilus influenzae type b (HiB) outbreaks. Flexible schedules encourage parents who would otherwise.... Read more >>

No.

Dr. Margaret Fisher
Chair, Section of Infectious Disease
American Academy of Pediatrics
Medical director of the Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J.

I don't see any logical rationale for it. We haven't found any problems with the standard schedule, and every vaccine we administer protects your child from a harmful infectious disease. There was a lot of research involved in establishing this schedule endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and other medical organizations. Parents who deviate from it are choosing to err on the side of unknown health risks against actual proven benefits.... Read more >>