Delaying Vaccinations

March 8, 2018 by: Roy Benaroch, MD Article Tags: ,

Q I hear a lot about the benefits of delaying vaccinations. Should I believe what I hear?

A There are at least two issues with delaying vaccinations.

An increased risk of disease
There are many, many studies that have documented less disease in vaccinated individuals. Here’s one, just one recent one, from April 2015. Researchers in Israel looked at cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in infants from 1998-2011, comparing the infants who had documented pertussis to a sample of infants who didn’t catch pertussis. Pertussis cases were more likely to have occured in the unvaccinated or lesser vaccinated children-those on a “delayed schedule”-than babies who got their vaccines on time.

An increased risk of side effects
Several studies have shown this, too. Here’s an example: a 2014 study from several U.S. centers showed that children who got their MMR vaccines late were about twice as likely to have seizures after vaccinations than those who got their MMR on time.

Let’s see: increased incidence of disease, increased side effects. Still, we need to look at both the risks and benefits of vaccines to make an informed decision. So, for balance, what are the benefits of a delayed vaccine schedule?

There are none. Not one. Nada. It’s not safer, it’s not easier. It’s not better in any way. There are no benefits to delay vaccinations.

So, no benefits, and significant, objective risks. It should be an easy choice. Keep your children safe and make sure they get their vaccines on time and on schedule.

Roy Benaroch

Roy Benaroch, MD

Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP is an Associate Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics with Emory University. He has produced several courses exploring medical cases for laymen in his "Medical School for Everyone" lectures, available from The Great Courses, and has also written books for parents and chapters in medical textbooks. He is also on the Board of Directors of The Children's Care Network, one of the largest clinically integrated pediatric care networks in the country. Dr. Benaroch practices general pediatrics near Atlanta, GA.