Why did I remove my Alternative Vaccine Schedules from the newest version of The Vaccine Book?
Vaccination is an extremely complicated process. With 69 doses on the recommended CDC childhood schedule, the single most important aspect to making this decision, in my opinion, is to do so with the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. To simply follow a vaccine schedule, any vaccine schedule, whether it's the full CDC schedule or any other, without a doctor's guidance isn't the right approach. It would be like deciding on a chemotherapy protocol for cancer without seeking the advice of your oncologist. As I spoke with thousand of readers over the years, I came to realize that many people were following my alternative schedules without actually reading the book. This means they were vaccinating without getting informed consent. They weren't reading about the risks. They assumed, wrongly, that the presence of a written schedule was some sort of guarrantee of safety. Well, my alternative vaccine schedules have about as much safety research as the full CDC schedule -- which is none.
Many of you may have read in press releases and media campaigns that vaccines are "safe and effective." This is a media sound byte, not a statement of scientific fact. While individual vaccines and certain combinations of vaccines have a known safety profile and a known set of established side effects, full vaccine schedules, like the CDC schedule, do not have safety research behind them. So, no one can claim that any particular approach is safe. My alternative schedules were designed as options for parents to follow if they chose to vaccinate and were comfortable with the risks, with the intention that parents would both read those risks and discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their doctor. While most of my patients in my office do not get any vaccines at all, some do choose to follow my selective schedule or my delayed schedule. Many kids seem to handle these schedules okay, but I have seen some kids experience a moderate to severe side effect. The important thing is that they are under my direct care throughout this process. And that's how it should be. So I feel better about readers putting together a vaccine schedule with their own doctor, instead of just following a piece of paper without proper guidance.
So, in order to better insure informed consent for vaccination, I decided to leave any and all decisions about how to schedule vaccines where it belongs -- in the hands of each reader and their health care practitioner. Don't worry, I didn't leave you hanging. I wrote a completely new chapter on deciding if, when, and how to vaccinate in which I give you numerous options, ideas, and much guidance to help you with your decision in this new version of the book that is even better than my first two editions.