Since finishing my pediatric training, I have come to realize that you can find evidence to support your decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.
When I started my pediatric practice fresh out of residency, I was a primary care physician and offered vaccinations to those families who chose to vaccinate their children. I actually gave the children the vaccines myself (I’m so glad I no longer do that – I truly disliked that part of my job!).
I was also one of the parents who chose to vaccinate my child. I did educate myself about the pros and cons of vaccines, and felt I still needed to vaccinate Kaitlin (my oldest), but selectively vaccinate and on an alternative schedule (one vaccine per month).
After the 5th vaccine, her eczema continued to worsen. I started to have the uncomfortable feeling of having to step outside the lines of what the standard medical community recommended, on behalf of the health of my child. I have always been a rule follower, so naturally stepping outside ‘the standard of care’ was very uncomfortable for me – especially as a physician going against ‘my tribe’.
But…I am a mother first and a pediatrician second. This I have never forgotten. I cannot parent in ways that make me uncomfortable, to make others comfortable. I made the connection that Kaitlin’s eczema would improve if I stopped stimulating her immune system with the vaccines.
In addition to supplementing her with cod liver oil and probiotics daily, I also stopped vaccinations. Her eczema resolved and has never returned. I chose as a mom and a pediatrician to stop vaccinating Kaitlin, and never to vaccinate Elle or Addison.
These are my decisions. Are there risks? Sure there are risks. There are risks with EVERYTHING. That’s life. All three girls had whooping cough – not fun. Could I have prevented those 2 months of relentless coughing with vaccines? Maybe, maybe not. The family that spread it to our family was fully vaccinated against pertussis.
I am often asked my opinions on vaccinations – do I recommend them or not? Every time I answer with the story above.