alternative vaccine schedulesNot too long ago, it was hippy families in Oregon who were developing “alternative vaccine schedules.” But that “method” by which to vaccinate your kids is apparently catching on.

Reuters reports that “nearly half of babies and toddlers in the United States aren’t getting recommended vaccines on time.”

Jason Glanz, with Kaiser Permanente Colorado, lead the study reviewing immunization records for about 323,000 children. And there’s some concerning tardiness:

During the study period, the number of children who were late on at least one vaccine – including their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) shots – rose from 42 percent to more than 54 percent.

Babies born towards the end of the study were late on their vaccines for more days, on average, than those born earlier.

More importantly, Glaz and his colleague’s findings could very well send us back to ye olden days of illness:

“What we’re worried about is if (undervaccination) becomes more and more common, is it possible this places children at an increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases?” said study leader Jason Glanz…

“It’s possible that some of these diseases that we worked so hard to eliminate (could) come back.”

… “When that happens, it can create this critical mass of susceptible individuals,” said Saad Omer, from the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

Researchers are still parsing out what exactly accounts for parents veering from doctors’ recommended vaccine schedule and throwing together their own. For some, it appears that they simply don’t have the resources to stick with doctors’ orders, as researchers posit some kids “bounced in and out of insurance coverage.” Others, Glanz implies, were ill during well-child visits and so vaccines for pushed.

Nevertheless, only a little more than one in eight children was not vaccinated due to parents’ choices. For those other children, experts aren’t “certain” as to the cause. Glanz adds that they don’t even know too much about these new vaccine schedules either:

“We don’t really know if these ‘alternative schedules’ as they’re called are as safe, less safe or more safe than the current schedule.”

But you know what definitely checks out as safe (for now)? Said standard vaccine schedule.

(photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock)