Alternative vaccination schedule

Alternative vaccination schedule

An alternative vaccination schedule (or alternative childhood immunization schedule)[1] is a vaccination schedule differing from the schedule endorsed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).[1] These schedules may be either written or ad hoc, and have not been tested for their safety or efficacy.[2][3] Proponents of such schedules aim to reduce the risk of adverse affects they believe to be caused by vaccine components, such as "immune system overload" that is argued to be caused by exposure to multiple antigens.[4]

These schedules have been criticized because there is no scientific evidence for the existence of "immune system overload". In addition, the amount of chemicals in vaccines such as aluminum and formaldehyde is much lower than natural exposure levels.[4] Intentional deviation from the ACIP's schedule leaves children vulnerable to infection and increases the likelihood of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.[5] These schedules also increase the financial costs to patients, since they require the use of more expensive single-antigen vaccines and additional office visits.[6]


  • Popularity 1
  • Proponents 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


An increasing number of children are undervaccinated, of whom an estimated 13% or more are believed to be so because of parental choice.[7] One survey, published in Vaccine, found that 9.4% of parents in King County, Washington used an alternative vaccine schedule,[1] while another survey found that more than 1 out of 10 parents of children aged between 6 months and 6 years used an alternative vaccine schedule.[8] In a 2011 survey of Washington State pediatricians, 77% of them reported that their patients "sometimes or frequently" asked for alternative vaccination schedules.[9] The same survey found that 61% of pediatricians were comfortable with using such a schedule if a parent asked for it.[9] A 2012 survey found that the percentage of shot-limiting children—defined as children who received no more than two vaccines per visit between their birth and the age of nine months—had increased from 2.5% to 9.5% in Portland, Oregon.[10][11]


Among the most prominent proponents of alternative vaccination schedules are Stephanie Cave and Robert Sears.[10] Sears has been criticized by Paul Offit for what Offit states is Sears' "misrepresentation of vaccine science."[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Opel, Douglas J.; Banerjee, Ashmita; Taylor, James A. (October 2013). "Use of alternative childhood immunization schedules in King County, Washington, USA". Vaccine 31 (42): 4699–4701.  
  2. ^ Opel, Douglas J.; Marcuse, Edgar K. (1 March 2013). "The Enigma of Alternative Childhood Immunization Schedules". JAMA Pediatrics 167 (3): 304.  
  3. ^ Boom, Julie; Cunningham, Rachel (2014). Understanding and Managing Vaccine Concerns. Springer. pp. 8–9. 
  4. ^ a b Jackson, Michael L. (April 2013). "Challenges in comparing the safety of different vaccination schedules". Vaccine 31 (17): 2126–2129.  
  5. ^ Nadeau, Jessica A.; Bednarczyk, Robert A.; Masawi, Munyaradzi R.; Meldrum, Megan D.; Santilli, Loretta; Zansky, Shelley M.; Blog, Debra S.; Birkhead, Guthrie S.; McNutt, Louise-Anne (January 2015). "Vaccinating My Way—Use of Alternative Vaccination Schedules in New York State". The Journal of Pediatrics 166 (1): 151–156.e1.  
  6. ^ Wheeler, Marissa; Buttenheim, Alison M (27 October 2014). "Parental vaccine concerns, information source, and choice of alternative immunization schedules". Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 9 (8): 1782–1789.  
  7. ^ Glanz, Jason M.; Newcomer, Sophia R.; Narwaney, Komal J.; Hambidge, Simon J.; Daley, Matthew F.; Wagner, Nicole M.; McClure, David L.; Xu, Stan; Rowhani-Rahbar, Ali; Lee, Grace M.; Nelson, Jennifer C.; Donahue, James G.; Naleway, Allison L.; Nordin, James D.; Lugg, Marlene M.; Weintraub, Eric S. (1 March 2013). "A Population-Based Cohort Study of Undervaccination in 8 Managed Care Organizations Across the United States". JAMA Pediatrics 167 (3): 274.  
  8. ^ Dempsey, AF; Schaffer, S; Singer, D; Butchart, A; Davis, M; Freed, GL (November 2011). "Alternative vaccination schedule preferences among parents of young children.". Pediatrics 128 (5): 848–56.  
  9. ^ a b Wightman, A; Opel, DJ; Marcuse, EK; Taylor, JA (December 2011). "Washington State pediatricians' attitudes toward alternative childhood immunization schedules.". Pediatrics 128 (6): 1094–9.  
  10. ^ a b Robison, S. G.; Groom, H.; Young, C. (18 June 2012). "Frequency of Alternative Immunization Schedule Use in a Metropolitan Area". PEDIATRICS 130 (1): 32–38.  
  11. ^ Seaman, Andrew M. (18 June 2012). "More Oregon kids on "alternative" vaccine schedules". Reuters. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Offit, P. A.; Moser, C. A. (1 January 2009). "The Problem With Dr Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule". PEDIATRICS 123 (1): e164–e169.