The topic of childhood vaccinations can be difficult to discuss with your doctor, no matter what side of the fence you are on. If your child is approaching school age, when vaccination records are requested, you may feel the need to discuss the schedule or specific vaccinations. If you are feeling apprehensive or unsure about how to bring the topic up, consider these four things to know before you begin the discussion.
Missing a Vaccination Can Be Fixed
There is a misconception that if your child misses a vaccination they cannot receive it again, or that they have to start the entire vaccination cycle over. The truth is that if your child misses a vaccination, your doctor can set them up on a schedule to catch-up and still receive the vaccinations they need or that you want them to have. This schedule is based on their age, current vaccinations, and if there is any time that must pass between vaccinations.
You may believe that there is only one vaccination schedule and you only have that option. There are actually several schedules that your doctor may consider, depending on your child's age and needs. For example, if you want your child to have vaccinations but you don't want them within a short time span, your doctor can arrange for a different schedule. This gives your child the same number of vaccinations over a longer period of time and does not generally cause any harm to your child.
Laws and Rulings
There are no federal laws currently governing childhood vaccinations. However, there are state laws that may govern vaccines, or your child's school or day care may require certain vaccinations prior to admission. Even with these rulings, it is still largely up to the parent as to what vaccinations are given. If you don't want to have vaccinations given to your child, or you want to skip certain vaccines, ask your doctor what rules pertain to this choice and what you need to know about your choices and rights.
Your Doctor May Not Agree
Prepare yourself for a difference of opinion on the vaccination schedule you want versus what your children's doctor wants. In some cases, this may not be an issue at all. In other cases, your doctor may state they will no longer see your child if certain vaccinations are avoided. If this occurs, ask your doctor if they know of a physician that will see your child and get a referral.
These are just a few basic things you should know before discussing the topic of vaccinations with a children's doctor like the Pediatric Associates of Alexandria. If you aren't sure about certain vaccines, or if you don't understand your options and rights, ask your doctor's office for a printout or pamphlet on vaccinations. Most offices will have this information for your research.