It starts the day your baby is born…… vaccinations. The Hepatitis B shot is given at birth, then booster doses follow. Why do infants need this vaccine so soon in life? Isn’t Hep B an STD after all, most frequently transmitted through sexual contact or tainted needles? While I don’t disagree that the Hep B vaccine may good idea for general public health, does it really need to be administered to a 7 pound newborn?
The current vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that in addition to getting the Hep B vaccine, by 6 months of age, the typical American child will be vaccinated against seven diseases via 17 vaccines, including their boosters. In addition, it is recommended that children 6 months of age or older during the winter season also receive a flu shot. That strikes me as a bit much. Thankfully, as of 2002, mercury is no longer an ingredient in these vaccines (it is either no longer added, filtered out leaving minute traces, or still added only in the case of the influenza vaccine from certain manufacturers). However, the question of vaccine safety is far from over. Other controversial ingredients are still found in many vaccines, from the known carcinogen formaldehyde (used as a preservative) to aluminum (used to enhance the effectiveness of the vaccine, but it can cause neurological damage if the doses are high enough or the kidneys are unable to remove it from the body). And the sheer number of vaccines added to the schedule continues to grow. Already, my youngest son will be offered a vaccine (against Rotavirus) that his brother, born in 2005, never got.