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Parents Refusing Vaccines For Their Kids
 
 
  Stephanie Lucero
 
DALLAS (CBS 11 News) - There is a growing controversy over the number of vaccines that children receive and when they receive them. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, in the 1970s, children received 23 doses of vaccine by the time they were 6 years old. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends more than twice as many. For some doctors and parents, that number is disturbing.
 
Some parents are choosing some vaccines and refusing others. Many parents start making these important medical decisions before their baby is born. However, a recent study found that one-in-four pediatricians would no longer treat families who chose their own vaccine schedule.
 
The first vaccine, Hepatitis B, is routinely given shortly after the day of birth. Judy Juarez decided to wait. "I didn't want to not vaccinate at all," she explained. "I wanted to do vaccines, I just wanted to do them a little differently."
 
Stephanie Hamilton said that she did the research, weighed the risks and considered her son's overall health before deciding not to vaccinate at all. "For nine months," she began, "I watched what I put in my body to protect him."
 
Hamilton had a tough time finding a pediatrician who will work with her. "Many of them said we're not the one for you," she said. "Don't come to this office because we're adamant about vaccinations and we don't want any unvaccinated children in our office."
 
Hamilton thought that she found a doctor who would respect her decision, but the office told her to put it in writing. Then, according to Hamilton, the office told her, "Whenever you come back in two months, you're going to have to vaccinate. And if you don't vaccinate, don't come back."
 
Hamilton found a pediatrician who will care for their son after checking with about 25 doctors. "He agrees with me in my thinking, in saying that it's perfectly fine in what I'm doing, not making me feel horrible for doing it," she said.
 
Dr. Anuradha Agrawal is a pediatrician in Dallas. She said that she is willing to delay vaccines and spread others out, and does have a small number of patients who have opted not to innoculate their kids. "I cannot say you get this shot now otherwise I cannot see you any further," she said.
 
Dr. Seshagiri Rao believes kids are given too many vaccines. He and a growing number of pediatricians say that Hepatitis B does not need to be given at bith if the mother does not have Hepatitis B. Rao also said that there is no need to vaccinate children for Diptheria.
 
Pediatricians like Dr. Deborah Bains believe that MMR, a triple vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella, puts unnecessary stress on a child's immune system. She explained, "We saw before our eyes this reaction to the vaccination. That was the last time I gave the MMR as a single vaccine."
 
"Being a mom, I believe there are too many," Dr. Agrawal said of the vaccinations. "Being a pediatrician, I believe there are too many, and I don't know what can be done about it. And as the research evolves, as the science evolves, I think there will be more and more."
 
Dr. Rao takes the debate even one more step further, saying, "I think it would be a good idea to revamp the whole vaccination program."
 
Most doctors, however, do urge parents to follow the schedule recommended by the American Academic of Pediatrics. "I'm very supportive," said Dr. Amy Hayes from Presbyterian Hosptial Dallas. "Reviewing the evidence, it's a good system. It works, and I feel it's important."
 
The State of Texas does allow parents to request an vaccination exemption that is necessary for children to enroll in school. The first step in making a decision about vaccines is discussing your concerns with your pediatrician.
 
 
 
 
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