If you're a first-time parent, you may be surprised to see the ever-growing list of vaccines recommended for your tiny infant. While many of these vaccines have been in use since you were a child, they may not have been recommended at such early ages (or even given at all unless you had other health concerns). However, the benefits of a well-immunized population are immeasurable. To ensure that your child is adequately protected from illness without overloading his or her immune system, you may wish to employ a delayed immunization schedule under certain circumstances. Read on to learn more about situations in which this delayed schedule may be recommended.
- Your child has a food allergy
Many vaccines are created or grown using tissue from eggs. This can potentially cause an allergic reaction if your child is sensitive to eggs or egg products. While there are egg-free alternatives for most vaccines (such as nasal sprays), these alternatives are often not tested on (or deemed effective for) infants and young toddlers, so you may want to push back any egg-based vaccines until after your child is old enough for the alternative version to be equally as effective.
- Your child has a chronic illness
Whether your child has a serious autoimmune disease or is simply prone to lengthy colds or respiratory illnesses during the winter, adding vaccinations on top of an already-overloaded immune system is generally not advised. Using the body's natural response to mount immunity against a vaccine can take away valuable resources toward fighting this illness. You may want to delay certain vaccines until your child has become relatively healthy again, or stagger out these vaccines so that your child doesn't receive multiple injections in a single doctor's visit.
- You share your home with an ill adult (or child)
If your infant is perfectly healthy, but you're also caring for an elderly parent or an immunocompromised person lives in your home, you may want to be cautious about sticking closely to the recommended vaccination schedule. Although the majority of vaccines are created with dead or inactive versions of a virus, there are a few (like the flu shot) that can contain live virus. This may put other family members at risk if they're in close contact with your child for the few hours or days after he or she has received a vaccine.
By working closely with your child's pediatrician and explaining any risk factors that may be present in your home, you should be able to come up with a vaccination schedule that will keep both your child and your family safe and healthy. Contact a local doctor, like Willow Oak Pediatrics, if you have questions or concerns.