Alternative Vaccine Schedule

If you’re wondering if there is an alternative to the recommended vaccine schedule, you’re not alone. More and more parents are seeking an alternative vaccine schedule for their children.  Whether you choose to vaccinate according to the CDC-recommended schedule, choose an alternative schedule, or opt-out entirely, you deserve to feel informed and empowered about your choice. It’s so important to take the time to learn about each vaccine and weigh the risks and benefits for your child. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Your child is unique, and they may benefit from an alternative immunization schedule. Here are some things to consider as you make an informed decision that’s best for your child.
Alternative Vaccine Schedule

What is the Alternative Vaccine Schedule?​

An alternative vaccine schedule is a vaccination plan that differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Immunization Schedule

The CDC sets the schedule, which gets approved by organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) and is followed by most pediatricians. 

A child who is vaccinated according to the CDC vaccine schedule will receive approximately 30 vaccine doses by the age of six. Many of these must be given in more than one dose, and babies and young children often get multiple vaccines simultaneously. 

Some parents are concerned about their children getting so many vaccines at once and wish to delay some shots or spread out the timing between immunizations.

This is considered an alternative vaccine schedule.

There is no single “official” alternative vaccine schedule; the CDC has not provided an alternate schedule for families that wish to delay or spread out immunizations. 

Some families use the alternative vaccine schedule popularized by Robert Sears’s Vaccine Book. This schedule differs from the CDC plan by spreading out the administration of some shots while delaying others.  

Other families come up with their own alternate schedules to meet their child’s individual needs. 

Are Alternative Vaccine Schedules Safe?​

Concerns about vaccine safety and efficacy are the leading reason why parents seek out an alternative schedule. 

No vaccine is completely free from adverse events or complications. Childhood vaccines carry the risk of adverse events ranging from mild to severe, including rare cases of fatal reactions

Alternative schedules aim to reduce the risk of a vaccine-related adverse event. 

Proponents of alternative schedules believe that an alternate plan that’s created around a child’s individual needs and risk factors is safer than the “one size fits all” approach to immunization presented by the CDC.

Those in favor of following the CDC schedule believe that delaying immunizations can increase a child’s risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease. 

It can be difficult to determine which schedule is safest for your individual child, but you can consider a few risk factors to help you make that decision. 

Is There an Alternative Vaccine Schedule for Sick Kids? ​

It’s completely understandable for a parent to question whether or not to vaccinate a sick kid. Should you vaccinate a child with a fever or illness?

While the CDC does not have an official alternative vaccine schedule, it does have best-practice guidelines for immunizing sick children. According to the CDC, the decision to delay vaccination because of a current or recent illness depends on the severity of the symptoms.

Mild illnesses: the CDC recommends adhering to the regular schedule, stating that the safety and efficacy of vaccinating persons with mild illnesses have been documented.

Moderate or severe illnesses: the CDC recommends vaccines should be deferred for persons with moderate or severe illnesses until the illness has improved. 

Immunocompromised: the CDC recommends delaying the administration of live vaccines for immunocompromised persons until immune function has improved. It is also recommended that household members and close contacts of persons with altered immunocompetence do not receive the smallpox vaccine. 

Fever: the CDC does not have specific best-practice guidelines for delaying due to a fever. Instead, the organization frames it within the context of a mild, moderate, or severe illness. Dr. Ari Calhoun, ND, co-creator of the Vaccine Empowerment Program, recommends never vaccinating your child during an illness or when they have a fever, even if it is mild. Instead, postpone your appointment until your child is well again.

Dr. Calhoun also advises against giving a child Tylenol (Acetaminophen) before or after a vaccine.

Learn more about that by watching the  7 Secrets to Making Confident Vaccine Choices For Your Child With Facts, Not Fear.

How to Plan Your Alternative Vaccine Schedule​

If you have determined that an alternative schedule is the best choice for your kids, planning out your vaccine schedule is the next step. 

There are multiple factors to determine when creating your schedule. Here are four places to start:

  1. Determine which vaccines are medically necessary based on your child’s individual risk factors. Assessing the risk of adverse reactions from a particular vaccine and potential disease exposure is an important first step. For example, a baby may be more susceptible to certain disease exposures if they are in daycare or if you will be traveling out of the country with them.

     

  2. Determine the best age to administer vaccines. While the CDC recommends administering the Hepatitis B vaccine on the day of birth, some parents may decide to delay this vaccine until their children are school-age. Decide on the optimal age to offer your child protection while minimizing the risk of adverse effects.

     

  3. Understand your personal vaccine timeline and optimal combinations. You may have a timeline for vaccinating your child to meet school entry guidelines. Knowing what your timeline is can allow you to get educated about the optimal vaccine combinations to reduce the risk of adverse effects.

     

  4. Some states allow vaccine exemptions based on personal or religious beliefs. However, some states do not allow parents to make these decisions and mandate vaccines. Understanding how your state laws determine your ability to plan an alternate schedule is important. 

Get Empowered to Make Decisions for Your Family

Planning an alternative vaccine schedule takes a bit more consideration than pulling up a schedule on the internet. You deserve to feel informed and empowered as you understand your child’s risk and exposure factors and learn about each vaccine on the schedule.

To start your vaccine education, watch our free video: 7 Secrets to Making Confident Vaccine Choices For Your Child With Facts, Not Fear.

We want you to feel informed and empowered so you can feel confident in the decisions you make for your child.