I find it really troubling to see the already super long list of scheduled vaccinations according to the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (provided to every parent when the newborn was discharged from hospital) getting even longer.
All the five clinics I called after Olivia was a month old had informed me of the new list of 'required' vaccinations which made me nervous. My baby must have three doses of Prevnar 13, even if I wait till she is 2 years old. Are you kidding me?!
Back in 2004, as first-time parents, we were clueless and ignorant. We trusted the nurses and doctors too much and were misled into believing that majority of the vaccinations are compulsory. Even the ones marked as optional were sold to us with a fair amount of fear mongering. Hence, M had almost every jab in the schedule, except Rotavirus.
With Chip, I only started to read up a little more after his second dose of 5-in-1 jab was administered when he was 4 months old. I was confused about the benefits/cons of the 6-in-1 vs. the 5-in-1. However, upon the advice of the pediatrician, we took the 6-in-1 (which included the 3rd dose of Hep B) when he was 7 months. I felt very uncomfortable after that, though he didn't suffer any visible side effects.
Upon more researching, I realized to my shock that most of the vaccinations are only recommended and not compulsory. Only the Diphtheria and Measles vaccines are compulsory by law. I was furious that we were so misled.
After much deliberation, we proceeded with the MMR instead of giving Chip single Measles vaccine because every doctor we spoke to insisted that the link to autism is not proven.
I decided to skip most of the other optional vaccines such as Chickenpox and Hep A. But we gave him the one for Rotavirus instead because there was a period when the boys had bouts of diarrhea. I thought I had better be safe than sorry on this one.
As for Prevnar (for protection against pneumococcal), I waited till the boys were over 2 years old so they only needed one jab for it.
It may seem straightforward to do the same for Olivia. But it isn't.
I am annoyed with myself that I had actually forgotten about this whole vaccination issue before I gave birth. And just two hours after my C-section, when I was still feeling a little overwhelmed and when the whole birth experience was still so surreal, I gave my consent to jabbing my one-day-old baby with the BCG and Hep B vaccines. Darn!
At her one-month-old visit, she had the second dose of Hep B. As the doctor spoke of the side effects, I recalled (with some horror) what I had forgotten and after that, I have been deeply vexed by the issue. Should I or should I not?
But after weeks of research and months of pondering over it, I decide not to give her most of the vaccinations and to delay the compulsory ones till she is a little older. But I brought her in for weighings and measurements and observed her everyday to make sure she is growing well with no visible issues and problems.
It's time to see the pediatrician. Decisions need to be made about the three doses of combination vaccines and third dose of Hep B. Maybe she can take just the single vaccine when she is a year old.