The authors of this book believe that the decision to immunize or not to immunize involves risks that every parent should weigh carefully. There is probably no single answer that will feel right to all parents. It is your responsibility to become as informed as possible, so that you can consider both the risks and benefits, and decide whether or not you want to give your child a particular vaccine. Look into the potential side effects of different vaccines-both the short-term and any known long-term ones. Research the incidence, severity, and consequences of different illnesses. You should also call your state health department and ask for any recommendations and/or statistics they have on the subject, as well as school requirements. Once you have considered all of this information, you may choose not to have your child vaccinated, or to have your child receive only one or two of the vaccines, or you may choose to have them given when your child is one or two years old, rather than one or two months. If your child has a history of neurological disorders or seizures, you should definitely have a thorough discussion with your doctor before your child receives any vaccination.
Regardless of what decision you make, keep in mind that immunity is more than immunization. You can boost your child's resistance to disease by supporting her immune system, first by breastfeeding (a mother's immunities are temporarily transferred to her baby this way), and later by providing a nutritious diet. Creating a loving, nurturing, and (as much as possible) stress-free home environment will also help to promote overall health and well-being.
For further discussion of the immunization controversy, consult the following:
Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective? by N.Z. Miller (Santa Fe, NM: New Atlantean Press, 1993).
The Immunization Decision, A Guide for Parents by R. Neustaedter (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1990).
Immunizations, a collection of articles from Mothering magazine (contact them at P.O. Box 8410, Santa Fe, NM 87504; telephone 505-984-8116).