Some Hippie Oregon Parents Are Creating Their Own ‘Alternative’ Vaccine Schedule

vaccination scheduleIt’s not up there with those chicken pox lollipops by any means. But despite taking their kids to the doctor’s office more, parents in or around the city of Portland are ignoring pediatrician recommendations and vaccinating their kids on their own clock.

Reuters reports that the number of children on “alternative” vaccination schedules is on the rise in this specific area of Oregon, growing from 2.5% in 2006 to 9.5% in 2009. Oregon’s numbers mimic a 2011 study of the United States, which found that one in 10 parents either refused to get their kids vaccinations or planned to get those shots in their own sweet time. The parental reasoning ranges from “a general mistrust” of vaccines to concerns about the pain to simply not wanting too many shots at once. But even though mothers and fathers may be well-intentioned, not keeping with doctor’s recommendation reportedly leaves children vulnerable to certain diseases:

“The recommended schedule is based on indisputable scientific evidence that the vaccines will work to prevent infections and are safe,” wrote Dr. Carol Baker, ACIP’s chair and a professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, in an email to Reuters Health…”The problem that we saw is that these kids are getting fewer shots total and they’re not catching up,” said [Dr. Steve Robison, the study's lead author from the Oregon Immunization Program].”Parents and doctors don’t realize how easy it is for kids on alternative schedules to fall behind,” he added.

And “indisputable” scientific evidence there is, so much so that the schedule of shots children should receive before their first birth is supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and CDC-backed Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

While this particular study did not discern whether kids on alternative vaccination schedules were more likely to contract diseases, Dr. Robinson maintains that previous research does, especially in cases pertaining to whooping cough. And because no vaccine is reportedly 100% effective, even vaccinated children are in danger when placed in contact with potential carriers — i.e. let’s hope the crayon lickers in your kid’s kindergarten class are up to speed on those shots.

(photo: Africa Studio/ Shutterstock)

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  • CW

    The recommended schedule is based on nothing more than CONVENIENCE and a desire to keep costs down by having fewer doctor’s visits. It isn’t about safety at all. The ACIP is notorious for being filled with doctors who have made millions of dollars developing vaccines and then getting them added to the CDC schedule. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse…

    • Lindsay

      Wouldn’t doctors make more money if you had to come in for more visits, not fewer visits?

    • Melissa

      CW, can you cite your sources, please?

    • T.


      CW, Doc would made far more money with a spread of infections. Thinks about it. And about all the antibiotics, antivirals, visits etc that would be the result of a spread of, said, Rubella, Measle or Whopping Cough.

      It doesn’t make sense :)

    • whiteroses

      CW, I suppose it’s nice to think that doctors don’t care about the health of kids and the schedule is just for convenience- but I don’t buy it, mostly because I have far too many pediatricians in my family who genuinely care about their patients to believe that your theory is valid. There’s a reason why children have a much higher survival rate now than they have in past years- and that’s because parents are actually using the medications avaliable to them. Babies have extremely fragile immune systems. Losing that child to something you can easily get a vaccination for seems ridiculous to me.

    • CW

      “Wouldn’t doctors make more money if you had to come in for more visits, not fewer visits?” Exactly, which is why health insurance companies and the government (remember, a huge percentage of kids have their shots paid for via Medicaid or public health clinics) want as many vaccines given at once as possible. They are being penny-wise and pound-foolish here because the cost of the extra doctor’s visits to spread the shots out would be way less than the cost of treating all the kids who develop auto-immune related conditions like autism, asthma, Type 1 diabetes, etc. All of those are way, way, way up since the CDC starting recommending dozens of vaccines be given in the first 3 years of life.

  • MMF

    The idea that vaccines are all about making money for doctors and big pharma is ludicrous. Children in other nations are dying of diseases we have nearly eradicated with the use of vaccines. It is no wonder that children in the Pacific Northwest are getting pertussis. Why would anyone want to put their kid through that? Americans take our public health system for granted and this is prime evidence of that. Not vaccinating or vaccinating off schedule is wholly irresponsible parenting.

    • CW

      The pertussis outbreak here in California was NOT among anti-vaxxers or delayed/selective vaxxers but rather was concentrated among Hispanic immigrants. It’s just not PC to blame them (even if it’s true) the way it is to get into hysterics over the small minority of families who choose to spread out or skip vaccines.

    • whiteroses

      I agree completely. Vaccination should be mandatory, in my opinion. If your kid gets sick over something that could be easily managed by vaccination, then gets my kid sick, I will have absolutely no sympathy for you.

      You’re entitled to raise your kid the way you want- but if your parenting choices put my child’s health at risk, then I will have an issue with it.

  • Vicky H

    Parents believe that their children “can always get the vaccines later if we change our mind, or if they want them when they are older.”

    This information is incorrect.
    Some people discount scientific studies and doctor recommendations, so here’s some purely anecdotal evidence that delaying a vaccination may cause problems: ME.
    -I received one of the first MMRs as an infant, then my family moved cross-country. So my pediatrician could not contact my parents when they found out that that shipment of the vaccine had been improperly refrigerated and wasn’t effective.
    -We found out this information when I was 12, and I was re-vaccinated with the MMR.
    -When I went to college, a blood titer discovered that while I was immune to Measles and Mumps, I was NOT immune to Rubella (German Measles). The two “M’s” had taken, but the “R” had not. So I got a THIRD MMR.
    -Before I became pregnant with my first child over a decade ago, they tested me to make sure that I had an immunity to Rubella. Because Rubella causes miscarriages and birth defects if you get it while you are pregnant. Guess what? No immunity to Rubella. So I got my FOURTH MMR.
    -After I gave birth, they tested me again, and gave me my FIFTH MMR.

    At this point I was told that it probably wouldn’t work.
    ***Children’s immature immune systems accept vaccines more easily, and I hadn’t received a good MMR until I had already started puberty. Because I can still GET Rubella (I just can’t get a vaccine for it), the doctors told me “not to visit any third-world countries where they don’t vaccinated their children” if I was ever pregnant again.
    I’m now pregnant again, and I live in a rich white neighborhood in Texas. We had Whooping Cough at the Elementary school less than a block from my house in 2010.

    bottom line:
    Please think twice before you delay your child’s vaccines!

    • CW

      Delaying a vaccine by a few months is VERY different than delaying it for years. All the moms I know who spread vaccines out have their children fully immunized against easily communicable diseases by kindergarten.

  • Lilac

    The only thing that worries me is carrier children whose hippie parents can tell they are in poor health/ sick but still drag them around in pubic for a few days, trying herbs and energy healing, before finally seeing a doctor.
    When i was little we only got about half the shots kids nowadays get. The chicken pox vaccine didn’t even exist when I was a child.

  • MMF

    Kids can get these dangerous diseases before kindergarten so I’m not sure why anyone would be relieved to hear that kids are fully immunized by the time they’re 5-6 yrs old.

  • The Mommy Psychologist

    It took us so long in the field to get rid of the myth that autism was caused by “cold mothering.” Decades to get rid of this false idea. It looks like it is going to take us even longer to get rid of the myth that vaccines cause autism. It is unfortunate because in the meantime childhood diseases that had nearly been eradicated continue to rise. As does the incidence of autism even though more and more parents choose not to have their kids vaccinated.

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.”

  • Eileen

    Isn’t it nice to have a baby and be fairly certain you’re going to see it grow up? Isn’t it nice to be able to christen it at your leisure and not either right away (in case it dies and you’re worried about purgatory) or in a long while (in case it dies and you’re worried about getting too attached, too soon)? A big part of why people throughout history had a ton of children was that babies and little kids get sick and die very easily. Vaccinations help ensure that having a baby means you’re going to have a toddler in a few years and a teenager a decade after that. Messing with vaccinations means that you get kids dying of measles in the UK. MEASLES.

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  • Melissa

    CW, I’m still waiting on those sources. And since you have now made additional claims, could you provide the sources for those as well?

  • Andrea

    I can’t fathom why people will listen to someone like Jenny McCarthy over medical doctors and scientists. Or why people would take chances with their childrens’ health. It makes no logical sense to me, but then I guess someone who would believe that vaccines cause autism probably isn’t a logical person.

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