"I was thinking," OK, we'll do it, "says Imamura, 39, from Torrance, California. "" But we will do it more slowly so that your body becomes acclimatized and does not do it. We suddenly face six different things. & # 39; "
Seven years later, Imamura says that his son is a very healthy active boy who loves to play sports.
But the delay of vaccines is risky. Many pediatricians will tell you that a more gradual approach vaccination is better than no vaccination, but they offer some difficult advice to parents who are considering it.
"Every day you are eligible to receive a vaccine that you cannot get, the possibility of an invasive disease remains," she says Dr. Charles Golden, executive medical director of the Primary Care Network at Children's Hospital of Orange County.
Recent outbreaks of measles, mumps, and pertussis have once again sparked a war of words over vaccinations.
The quarrel is often painted in two parts: in a field, the medical establishment, supported by science, which strongly promotes the vaccination of children against 1
4 childhood diseases at the age of 2. N The other, a small but noisy minority – the so-called anti vassifiers – avoiding the blows, believing that the risks of vaccines outweigh the dangers of disease.
The idea that there are two opposite sides obscures a great middle path occupied by a quarter of parents, who believe in vaccinating their children but, like the Imamuras, choose to do it more gradually. They are concerned about the impact on health of so many shots in such a short time and, in some cases, completely renounce certain vaccines.
Alternative vaccination programs have been underway for years, promoted by some doctors and promoted by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy. Donald Trump approved the idea during a Republican presidential debate of 2015.
The concept achieved a great following more than a decade ago, when Robert W. Sears, a pediatrician from Orange County, California , has published "The Vaccine" Book, in which it has included two alternative programs. Both delay vaccines, and one of these also allows parents to skip shots for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, hepatitis A and poliomyelitis.
Sears' book became the vaccination Bible for thousands of parents, who visited their pediatricians with it, but it is worth noting that Sears was punished by the Medical Board of California last year. or after accusing him of improperly exempting a 2-year-old from all future vaccinations. He refused to be interviewed for this column.
Imamura, who describes herself as "definitely not an anti-vassifier", says that she and her husband "followed Sears to T." They limited the number of vaccines for their child to no more than two per appointment, compared to a maximum of six in the official program. And they missed the varicella shot.
However, he admits: "If there had been outbreaks like now, this would have affected my way of delaying vaccines."
The ideas promoted by Sears and others have contributed to parents' concerns that frontal loading shots could overwhelm their children's immune system or expose them to toxic levels of chemicals such as mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde.
But scientific evidence does not support it. Infectious doctors and public health officials claim that everyday life presents much greater challenges to children's immune systems.
"By touching another human being, crawling around the house, they are continually exposed to so many things every day, so these vaccines do not add much to this," says Dr. Pia Pannaraj, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
The same is true for some metals and chemicals contained in the vaccines, which the skeptical vaccinators blame for autism despite numerous studies having found no connection – the most recent published earlier this month.
In the first six months of life children get much more aluminum from breast milk and artificial milk than from vaccines, public health experts say.
"When you look at children who have received aluminum-containing vaccines, you can't even say that the level has risen," says Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and director of # 39. ; Vaccine Education Center. The same is true for formaldehyde and mercury, he adds.
Concerned parents for mercury, aluminum or other vaccine ingredients should avoid information shared on social media, which can be misleading. Instead, check out the Vaccine Education Center on the CHOP website at www.chop.edu by clicking on the "Departments" tab.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provide a detailed breakdown of the ingredients in each vaccine at www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
If the child has a condition that is feared to be incompatible with vaccinations , discuss with your pediatrician. The CDC provides very specific guidelines on who should not receive vaccines, including children with immune system deficiencies or who are receiving chemotherapy or taking certain drugs.
If your children are not among them, vaccinations. This will help prevent outbreaks, protecting those who have not received the blows for medical reasons.
When parents resist, Pannaraj says, stresses that the potential harm from infections is much more serious than the risks of vaccines. For example, note that the risk of contracting encephalitis from measles is about 1,000 times greater than in the vaccine.
Again, side effects occur. Most are mild, but severe cases – though rare – are not unheard of. To learn about the potential side effects of the vaccines, consult the CDC website or discuss it with the pediatrician.
Emily Lawrence Mendoza, 35, says that after her second child, Elsie, got her first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) fired at 12 months of age, caused a fever and developed a & # 39; complete rash that looked like a mild version of the disease.
It took three urgent care visits before a doctor recognized that Elsie, now almost 5 years old, could have had a mild reaction to the vaccine. Subsequently, Mendoza, of Orange, California, decided to adopt a more gradual vaccination program for his third child.
Yet Mendoza says that Elsie's adverse reaction made her understand the importance of vaccinations: "What if she was exposed to a full-fledged case of measles?"
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.