Can I Change My Child’s Vaccine Schedule If I’ve Already Started?
You Can Withdraw Consent At Any Point
One of the most common questions that I get asked during vaccine consultations is: Can I change my mind about my child’s vaccine schedule if I’ve already started?
The answer is yes. You can always change your mind. As a parent, you always have the final say in what medical procedures your child receives and you have the ultimate responsibility over their health. Your doctor is there to offer professional guidance, advice, and assistance.
What Are The Health Consequences Of Stopping A Vaccine Series?
Most vaccines require more than one dose. Some parents wonder what will happen if they stop in the middle of a vaccine series. It depends on the vaccine, but in general, if there are multiple doses of a vaccine in a series it is because that is what current research shows is required to build up an immune response that is considered protective for most children. If some but not all doses are received, your child may have partial protection against the disease but will be more vulnerable to an outbreak than if they had received the full series. Antibody titers can be tested for a better vulnerability assessment. Current levels of infectious disease can be checked for a better risk assessment.
In most cases, if you decide to stop or pause a vaccine series and then restart it later, the vaccines that your child has received will still “count.” For example, if there are three vaccines in a series and you choose to delay vaccination for a year, your child will only need one more vaccine to complete the series rather than starting again with dose one. There is some nuance to this, and your doctor can provide you with individual advice.
Can My Pediatrician Fire Me If I Don’t Vaccinate My Child?
It is generally considered problematic for doctors to fire patients over vaccination status. The American Medical Association recommends that doctors continue to see patients that aren’t vaccinated, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that doctors are allowed to dismiss families from their practice over the question of vaccines provided that they follow their state laws and guidelines around patient dismissal.
The laws around dismissing families from medical practices vary from state to state. However, pediatricians are ethically required to provide families with information and resources to help them find a new doctor and are required to continue providing care for a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, so that the patient has time to find a new healthcare provider.
My heart goes out to all the parents who have been fired by their doctors or who have been threatened with dismissal. If you have an experience with a doctor who has dismissed you from their practice in a way that you believe is unethical, filing a complaint with the state governing body is an option.
If you are looking for a medical freedom healthcare provider, I have an updated list available here.
As a parent, you are free to change your mind about which vaccines your child receives. If you stop halfway through a vaccine series, your child will likely have partial protection against the infection in question but will be more vulnerable than if they had received the full series. It isn’t recommended that doctors fire patients who want to delay or forgo vaccination, but it is considered acceptable and is very common.
If you’re looking for a medical freedom healthcare provider in your area, click here for an updated list.
If you’re looking for more information about vaccines, check out my Vaccine Strategy Guide.
Sharma, S. K., & Pichichero, M. E. (2012). Functional deficits of pertussis-specific CD4+ T cells in infants compared to adults following DTaP vaccination. Clinical and experimental immunology, 169(3), 281–291. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.2012.04613.x
Fadugba, O. O., Wang, L., Chen, Q., & Halasa, N. B. (2014). Immune responses to pertussis antigens in infants and toddlers after immunization with multicomponent acellular pertussis vaccine. Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI, 21(12), 1613–1619. https://doi.org/10.1128/CVI.00438-14