by Danelle Frisbie © 2010
An option in vaccine choices that parents have always had for their children is no longer available. Some wished to cautiously pick and choose the ingredient combinations injected into their babies and toddlers – on a vaccine-by-vaccine basis. Many opted to spread out injections in an effort to limit the amount of toxins and foreign substances their infants' developing immune system had to handle at any one time. Parents could select one monovalent (a single vaccine that only correlates with one disease) at a time. For example, the measles vaccine could be chosen solo (without the mumps and rubella). Similarly, the tetanus vaccine could be administered without the diptheria and pertussis.
Vaccine conscious parents desired this option in order to administer some, but not all, vaccines to their infants and children based upon the real risks and statistics associated with each individual disease and manufactured vaccine. Other parents wanted their children to receive all 36 AAP suggested vaccines, but simply spread out over a longer time frame so tiny bodies/brains would not be bombarded with so much at one time. (The AAP schedule recommends 24-25 vaccinations in the first 12 months of an infant's life and 36 by the time a child is 5 years of age). Alternative options for vaccinations and schedules are now limited.
Merck & Co., which made the only remaining U.S. monovalents for measles, mumps and rubella through October 2009, is no longer producing the single vaccines. Instead, their efforts have shifted to a focus on the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of their combination vaccine, the MMRII (measles-mumps-rubella-virus-vaccine-live). Parents will now have to make a decision with the MMR vaccines -- take all or nothing.
For additional research-based vaccine information, see this book list: Vaccines & Vaccinations.