So this is one of the first decisions you have to make when your baby is born. They will receive their first dose of Hep B in the hospital prior to discharge, that is if you sign a consent. It is our responsibility as parents to be informed of each vaccine, what it is made of, and the potential side effects as well as how common, rare, or serious the disease it if your child should get sick (from not being vaccinated).
The Vaccine Book:Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears) is a wonderful educational book to allow you to make informed decisions about your child's health.
I choose to use his alternate scheduled (with some of my own variations) of vaccines for a couple reasons. I know the research is out there NOT linking vaccines to autism (having worked for an institute providing care for autistic children back in college I am very educated on this fact); however there is still some speculation. Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines since 2001 (trace amounts remain in flu shots). With that slight possibility and the mere truth that autism is more prevalent in boys caused me some concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) schedule has kids getting up to seven shots in one visit!! That is crazy! And unnecessary. I did not want to put my son through the trauma and possible side effects of all those vaccines at one time.
Did you know that by the time your child is 18 years old they will get around 50 shots (including boosters), compared to 11 for when we were children (1980s). Yes, this means children are getting protected against a greater number of potentially deadly diseases.
This was a hard decision for my husband and I because of course we want our son protected from possible deadly diseases, but we also didn't want him receiving so many shots during his visits. We were happy to bring him back more often just for a "shot visit." He will be slightly delayed in some that are not needed at this time and/or are pretty much nonexistant diseases in the US, but he will be all up to date with the AAP scheduled by the time he is 2 years old.
For example, Polio which hasn't been seen in the USA for over 25 years it is not necessary (per DR. Sears) to vaccinate at 2 months old, you can wait until age 1 or 2. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease, so why do babies need it before leaving the hospital? Because the AAP recommends it. No, your baby can wait until preteen years. We did decide to go ahead with this when my son was born, some of the variations we made. And the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) is usually given at age 1, along with the chicken pox vaccine and a hepatitis A booster. Dr Sears recommends to wait until age 3 or 4, before entering school. The shot combines three live vaccines, more apt to causing side effects-especailly in young children with less-developed immune systems.
I hope this information helps. Do your research and read Dr. Sears' book. You can also make your own 'schedule' with the help of your pediatrican to suit your needs and the health of your child. For more info check out the CDC web site cdc.gov/vaccines.