First 5: Is your child ready? Immunization

By From page B5 | September 11, 2013

Kathleen Guerrero


I am the parent of an adult child on the autism spectrum. More specifically, my son was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.

Born in the early nineties, our family learned about autism like the rest of the world, by trial and error.

I felt like I spent 50 percent of my time trying to find strategies to support my child’s development and 50 percent trying to figure out what causes Asperger’s.

Some research at the time suggested that autism was the result of mercury found in immunizations. This theory has then since been proven to be incorrect but other vaccine safety concerns are still present.

At the recommendation of my doctor, I chose and met with my pediatrician before my child was delivered.

I was able to talk about the emerging Autism research and make decisions about continuing the immunization schedule for my son and his younger sister.

I monitored my children after shots and discussed how they reacted to the previous vaccine at each visit. Feeling confident I had exhausted all questions and concerns, I have never second guessed my decision to fully vaccinate my children.

Vaccine safety is only one concern that may impact a parent’s choice to immunize their children.

Regardless of the reason, there are a growing number of families whose children are not immunized. The larger the number of unvaccinated children makes communities vulnerable to outbreaks of disease, especially if those children attend the same school or live in the same neighborhood.

Here are some steps to consider when making your decision:

1. Talk with your extended family about their health history and experiences.

2. Research vaccine safety, being careful to consider only articles from reliable sources.

3. Keep your child’s immunization record in a safe place. If you can’t find it, call the health clinic or doctor’s office for their records.

4. Discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.

With the school year starting, many families will be making decisions about immunizations. If you need help finding your immunization records, getting medical insurance or finding a doctor, call the Children’s Health Initiative at 800-388-8690 or 530-621-6142.

Kathleen Guerrero

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