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Thursday, November 29, 2007
How do I switch to the Alternative Vaccine Schedule if I’ve already started my baby on the regular vaccine schedule?
All of you have expressed so much interest in switching to the alternative vaccine schedule, but you aren’t quite sure how to do it since you’ve started getting some shots already. I suppose I should have foreseen this situation when I wrote the book.
The most common situation I hear about is a parent who has already given their baby the 2 and/or 4 month shots, and now wants to switch to an alternative schedule. Here’s how to do that. Make a copy of my alternative schedule and cross off everything that your baby has already had, no matter when it is due on my schedule. Then at your baby’s next checkup continue with whatever is due according to my schedule. This most likely will be DTaP and Rota, then Pc and HIB a month later.
What about the shots that your baby already had at 2 and/or 4 months that are NOT on my schedule until later during infancy or childhood? The two shots this mainly applies to are Hep B and polio. If your baby already had polio at 2 and 4 months, you would not get any more until 2 years. If your baby only had one polio shot, you’d pick up the next one at 12 months.
As for Hep B, you will notice I don’t usually give this until age 2 or 3 years. If your baby has already had 2, then you would just wait to get the third between age 3 and 4. If your baby has only had 1 Hep B, get the second at 2 ½ and the third at 3 years.
Here are a few other things to know. It’s fine to switch brands of vaccines anytime you want. You can also switch from any combination vaccine to using individual ones. The hard part will be convincing your doctor to order a different brand just for you. If you have a few other friends with similar age kids going to the same doctor, that might make it easier if you all gang up on your doctor together. (Kidding, of course). Alternatively, the doctor can give you a prescription for a single dose through a pharmacy. Hopefully as more patients make these requests doctors will become more compliant.
Second, don’t worry if you mess up the actual spacing of each series of shots. The spacing is flexible. For example, even though the first three DTaP shots are supposed to be 2 months apart each, don’t worry if this gets spaced out further. And if you get only one or two polios or Hep Bs early on, but then delay the rest for some years, you don’t have to start the whole series over. You just pick up where you left off.
Third, if you are starting the schedule late, such as at 4 or 6 months, don’t hurry to catch up. Just start the schedule as if your baby was 2 months old, and you’ll go through the whole thing but always be 2 to 4 months behind.
Here’s an example of someone who already had the 2 and 4 month shots but who now wants to switch. At six months you would just get DTaP and Rota, then at 7 months HIB and Pc. By nine months, you would skip polio because you’ve already gotten it at 2 and 4 months. You may get the flu shot though. At 12 months get mumps, but NOT polio again since you already got the 2nd dose at 4 months. At 15 months it’s Pc and HIB, and at 18 months it’s DTaP and Chickenpox. You continue on from there according to the schedule.
I hope this makes sense. Your doctor will be able to help you figure out the details.