Are Delayed Immunizations Safe?

November 17, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some parents are concerned that a child’s immune system may not be ready for vaccines and choose to delay vaccination  until the child is older, but that worry is unfounded, and delaying vaccinations is dangerous.

The CDC reports that, because of the recent trend to delay or decline vaccines, diseases such as measles and whooping cough have made comeback. Almost 50,000 people contracted whooping cough in 2012, the highest number of reported cases since 1955. Measles was considered effectively eliminated in the United States in 2000, but close to 600 people have beren infected with measles already in 2014.

More than just a personal choice, delaying vaccinations increases your child’s risk of contracting or spreading a preventable illness.

“Even if a child has no symptoms, she may be carrying a disease to pass along to other non-vaccinated children,” Dr. Jesse says. “The risk of contracting a disease is particularly high for young children and babies who cannot be vaccinated because they're too young.”

The standard childhood vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not put any more strain on your child’s immune system than he would get from going to daycare or to the grocery store.

“The body’s immune system is able to handle thousands of foreign bodies introduced every day from things such as the food we eat or water we drink,” Dr. Jesse says. “There’s no research to suggest that vaccines given as directed could adversely overwhelm a child’s immune system.”

The Bottom Line
“Any time you delay or forgo vaccinations, you put your child and other children at risk,” Dr. Jesse adds. “Vaccines prevent diseases that cause pain and discomfort for your child, and lead to time away from school (and work for parents), expensive medical costs and potentially even death.

Dr. Jesse is available to provide immunizations and well-child check ups, as well as seeing your child when he or she isn't feeling well. Call 605-353-7660 to make an appointment.

Dr. Jesse Van Heukelom