Delaying vaccines is not a good idea

The Pediatric Insider

© 2015 Roy Benaroch, MD

I get asked, now and then, about delaying vaccines. What’s the harm?

#1: An increased risk of disease

There are many, many studies that have documented less disease in vaccinated individuals. Here’s one, just one recent one, from April 2015. Researchers in Israel looked at cases of pertussis in infants from 1998-2011, comparing the infants who had documented pertussis to a sample of infants who didn’t catch pertussis. Pertussis cases were more likely to be either unvaccinated or have fewer vaccines – a “delayed schedule” – than babies who got their vaccines on time.

#2: An increased risk of side effects

Several studies have shown this, too. Here’s an example: a 2014 study from several US centers showed that children who got their MMR vaccines late were about twice as likely to have seizures after vaccinations than those who got their MMR on time.

 

Let’s see. Increased disease, increased side effects. Still, we need to look at both the harms and the benefits to make an informed decision. So, for balance, what are the benefits of a delayed vaccine schedule?

There are none. Not one. Nada. It’s not safer, it’s not easier. It’s not better in any way. There are no benefits of delaying vaccinations.

So: delaying vaccines offers no benefits, and significant, objective risks. It should be an easy choice. Keep your children safe. Make sure they get their vaccines on time and on schedule.

 

Whooping cranes! Get it?

Guess what kind of birds these are

Other recent vaccine links:

An anti-vax mom learns a lesson when all 7 kids get pertussis

The benefits of measles vaccine are far more than preventing measles

 

 

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6 Comments on “Delaying vaccines is not a good idea”

  1. NewMom Says:

    We are just dealing with the reverse situation where we will vaccinate for MMR early if we go to visit with family in Europe in the fall. I thought it was interesting that it is recommended for trips to Europe for 6 months and older although the recommended age for the vaccine in the country we are visiting (Germany) is the same as the U.S., so at 12 months. I guess there is plenty of opportunity to catch stuff while in transit (airports etc) and with a recent measles outbreak in Berlin we won’t be taking any chances- or as little chance as possible, since from what I have read it looks like vaccinating early means that the vaccine may be somewhat less effective.

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  2. Dr. Roy Says:

    Thanks NewMom for visiting and commenting– I addressed early MMR in this previous post: https://pediatricinsider.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/immunity-breastfeeding-and-the-timing-of-measles-vaccine/

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  3. Lauren Says:

    Are those egrets? Because, if you delay your child’s vaccines, you may come to r-egret it?

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  4. I really appreciate the attention to details that you display in your research of vaccines, before posting.
    I have a question, you mention that delaying vaccines makes the side effects twice as likely, given that side effects are rare… I’m just curious as to Why would delaying double the chances of side effects? Theoretically the child’s immune system is bit stronger, right?
    Also, are there any long term problems with delayed vaccines?

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  5. Dr. Roy Says:

    Natasha, every time a child gets vaccines there’s a small risk of things like fever and achiness and pain at the infection site. The exact numbers depend on the vaccine, but let’s say as an average it’s a 2% risk. If you come in twice as often to get vaccines (because you’re “spreading them out”, or getting fewer injections per visit, or avoiding combos) you’ll end up with twice as many encounters after which your child will have that 2% risk of side effects.

    Doing combos or more than 1 vaccine at a time does NOT increase that 2% risk. It’s the same risk whether you give 1,2,3, or 4 vaccines, or whether you give a combo or two. Spreading out vaccines is cruel to the child and of no medical benefit to anyone. It’s just feeding internet fear monster. Don’t feed the fear!

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  6. Dr. Roy Says:

    Sorry, you asked a second question, about long term problems: the big one is that you’ve left your child vulnerable to disease. It’s like saying, “I’ll start using a car seat at 4 months”. That means for 4 mos, your child is not well protected in case of a car crash. And there’s no benefit at all to delaying using your car seat, or delaying vaccines.

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