Mother torn amid conflicting advice on vaccinations

Savitri Jones has always tried to live a natural lifestyle. After the arrival of her four-and-a-half-year-old twins, Lucia and Kai, that seemed even more important.

Kai has Down syndrome, and a relatively fragile immune system. All the vaccines her pediatricians were peddling made her nervous. What was in them? How could she know that they don’t cause autism?

“It’s just too much stuff to put in their bodies when they’re so brand new and should be welcomed to the world and not messed around with a lot,” she said.

Her husband leans more toward Western medicine, she said. And she didn’t want their children coming down with whooping cough or measles, either. As they tried to decide on the best course of action, she talked with her chiropractor, her acupuncturist, and her children’s doctor – and received conflicting advice.

The same was true of her friends - some strongly opposed vaccination, others supported it and still others were doing some vaccines but not others. Jones, who is over 55, has an adult daughter whom she partially vaccinated, and who never had health problems growing up, she said. She decided to follow the same course with her younger children.

The twins were strong and healthy until they reached 18 months, at which point Kai was hospitalized for four days with a serious case of pneumonia. After that scare, Jones and her husband got both children vaccinated against pneumococcus.

Since then, they’ve opted for a compromise. They’ve skipped vaccines for polio and hepatitis and the flu, but vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, as well as pertussis, tetanus and diptheria. Kai has received the chicken pox vaccine; his twin sister hasn’t yet.

“I’m kind of traversing both worlds and trying to figure out what makes sense,” Jones said.

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