More parents delaying or refusing to vaccinate their kids

At my youngest daughter’s last well baby doctor’s appointment, she got lots of shots (swine flu, seasonal flu and several others) so our pediatrician recommended we delay her third DTaP a week or so. She didn’t want to overwhelm the 6-month-old’s system. Well, a week dragged into a month when we went on vacation and on Tuesday I finally got her in for needed vaccinations.

I wasn’t delaying or refusing to vaccinate.We just got busy. But I wonder if we are inadvertently part of a trend: A growing number of parents are refusing or delaying their children’s vaccinations, according to a study presented at Pediatric Academic Societies’ 2010 annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday.

Philip J. Smith of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues reported that between 2003 and 2008, the percentage of parents who refused or delayed vaccination doses increased significantly from 22 percent to 39 percent. The parents who declined vaccinations (or delayed administering them) reported various reasons for their decision: 44 percent did so because their child was sick; 27 percent because they thought too many shots were required; and 24 percent were concerned about safety and side effects.

The study concluded that “children whose parents delay or refuse vaccinations may be at increased risk of not receiving all recommended vaccine doses by 19 months and thus [are] more vulnerable to” vaccine preventable diseases.