Parents Prompt Docs to Alter Vaccine Schedule Over Autism Concerns

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More and more parents are reacting to media hype about child vaccination's and the potential link to autism, and are approaching their pediatricians about amending the vaccination schedule.

CNN Health recently revisited a hot children’s health topic: vaccinations and parents’ concerns about their potential relation to autism. CNN reported that more and more parents are reacting to media hype about this topic and approaching their pediatricians about amending the child vaccination schedule that is produced annually by the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, this has become such a regular occurrence that some pediatricians are beginning to make the requested changes, even if they do not agree with the parents’ concerns regarding autism. Pediatricians can only recommend to parents what they think should be given (which is, in most cases, the vaccinations according to the CDC schedule); but, in the end, the decision lies with the parent, and pediatricians must respect what the parent wants for their child.

There are several requests and concerns that seem to come up frequently. A number of parents have requested that the hepatitis B shot be delayed, instead of given to newborns before they are discharged from the hospital. Proponents of delaying this vaccination don’t see the urgency in vaccinating a newborn for a disease that is only able to be contracted through sex or shared intravenous needles. In addition, some parents are electing not to do some routine shots at all —including vaccinations for less serious conditions, such as second and third vaccinations for chicken pox and rotavirus. Some parents are also asking pediatricians to spread out the recommended vaccines over a longer period of time. As it stands right now, children between two and nine months can sometimes receive up to five vaccinations in one visit. Parents have also expressed concern with how some vaccinations can be combined into one shot, such as MMR, which combines treatment for measles, mumps, and rubella.

The bottom line here is that parents are becoming more concerned about child vaccinations and autism, even though there is little convincing scientific evidence linking the two. Have you been following media reports of this trend? Have you experienced this firsthand? If so, what do you tell the parents? What approach have you taken to educate them about vaccinations and autism? Please share your experience.

More on Autism and Vaccinations:

Local families march on Washington for cleaner vaccines

Vaccinations, therapies add to mysteries of autism

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and Autism Fact Sheet

Autism Research Institute

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