In “Are alternative vaccine schedules safe?” an article in this month’s issue of Today’s Parent, freelance writer Dory Cerny tells readers that “vaccination experts agree that tinkering with a schedule that has been painstakingly developed and proven over decades to be both safe and effective is impractical, potentially dangerous and gives parents a false sense of security.”
In fact, it is Cerny who is giving parents a false sense of security. No studies exist showing the current vaccine schedule for children to be optimal. To the contrary, studies exist — by scientists at public health authorities, no less — showing that the vaccine schedule-setters got it wrong, leading to increased rather than decreased disease.
For example, “Higher Risk of Measles When the First Dose of a 2-Dose Schedule of Measles Vaccine Is Given at 12–14 Months Versus 15 Months of Age,” a 2012 article in Clinical Infectious Diseases, a journal published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, found that youths whose parents had followed the measles vaccination recommendations of the public health authorities were 2-4 times likelier to become infected than children whose parents had delayed vaccination. The study, conducted by scientists at public health authorities in Quebec and British Columbia, concluded that “administration of the first dose of measles vaccine before 15 months of age may not be optimal for measles elimination efforts.”
Moreover, to claim as Cerny did that the schedules have been “painstakingly developed and proven over decades” is absurd on its face — the schedules haven’t existed for decades and so could not possibly have stood the test of time. Adding to the complexity, vaccine formulas and manufacturing methods are continually changing for existing vaccines and new vaccines are being steadily added to the schedule.
Free-lance writer Dory Cerny (@dorycerny) failed to properly research her subject, failed to interview dissenting scientists, and failed to think through the logic of what she was writing. Cerny, and Today’s Parent (@Todaysparent), deserve two Band-Aids for misleading parents with bogus advice that could discourage them from being well-informed consumers of health services.