Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I'm not sure where I stand on this issue : To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate. That is the question.

The same evidence can be interpreted differently, obviously as there are such extreme varying opinions.

But this post is not about the effectiveness and safety of our CDC's recommended vaccine schedule. I'm not taking one side or the other here. It's about what I overheard in my doctor's office today.

As I waited to be seen for Shiloh's 2 week visit, the nurse came out to speak with a rep. regarding vaccines. There seems to be some type of shortage of Hep. B and maybe some others. My attention was grabbed when I heard the nurse reassure her for the second time that "Yes, we did discard our whole stock." As I pretended to be reading my magazine as I listened the rep. kept explaining their recommended substitute, how the schedule is different for that particular vaccine than for the Hib vaccine. She asked if our office brought babies back for 1 month well-visits. The nurse said "No, we do 2 week and 2 month." The rep. explained many offices do 1 month visits, and it works out very well to do that to add this particular vaccine to the schedule instead. To have you bring your baby in at 2 weeks, 1 month, and 2 months.

She said "Ideally, parents are having their children vaccinated at the hospital so that's one less visit you need here. So you can establish the 1 month well visit in replacement." Note : we aren't one of those sets of parents..... so bringing my baby in 5 times in her first 4 months, 1 weight check visit and 4 visits for vaccines? Seems like an awful lot of unneccessary exposure to other illnesses in the office instead of safely at home, but I digress.

The rep continued "Even if you find you don't like that solution, it's at least something to do to continue on until this whole Hib situation is resolved."

Situation? Resolved?? I'm too polite (OK, that means too embarrassed to admit to eavesdropping) to ask the nurse what they were talking about. I'm very interested to know - a vaccine situation? What?

But then, here's the whole point of my post.. in case you're bored and wondering : the nurse then says "That would be great... one less thing to worry about. You know, we lost power last week and so then I had to take all the vaccines to the hospital and then bring them back 3 hours later."

You know - even if you believe 100% in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, we are all completely dependent on proper handling and care. From the manufacturer all the way to the doctors office. And not only then, but proper storage, refrigeration, handling - not to mention all of those things in the situation of a power outage! As well as keeping an eye on expiration dates and recalls.

It's all so temperamental. Should any one thing go wrong, or go unnoticed, there goes the whole point.

How awful to think of recalls too. Have you thought about what it would feel like to be vaccinated just to find out a day or two later they recall it? That happened to Jacob with the military and the anthrax vaccine.... but THAT'S a story for another day.

I never even took all that into consideration in the issue of "to vaccinate, or not to vaccinate." Now I have more thoughts and information cluttering my mind in this decision making process!

Just some interesting thoughts on how safe is "safe" anyway... and how safe is "safe enough".

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