Parent's Guide to Childhood Vaccination

Choosing to vaccinate your child is not a decision that should be taken lightly. In ‘Parent’s Guide to Immunization Decisions,’ FLCCC advisor Dr. Elizabeth Mumper (aka Dr. Liz) guides you through the concepts you and your family need to understand.

Dr. Mumper is a practicing pediatrician with decades of experience helping families make informed decisions for their kids. As the host of Kid’s Corner with Dr. Liz, she tackles vaccination questions + much more.

Download or view the full guide below, or keep reading for a summary.


Dr. Mumper’s 6 Recommendations for Childhood Immunizations

In Dr. Mumper’s research since 2005, she has monitored the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated patients.

Overall, the vaccinated cohort exhibited a higher susceptibility to ear infections, developmental issues, and asthma.

Most notably, the rate of autism in the vaccinated group stood at 1 in 50. Compare this to her unvaccinated patients who showed a significantly lower prevalence, with a rate of 1 in 297.

It was these kinds of discoveries that motivated Dr. Mumper to come up with her six childhood vaccination recommendations:

  1. Understand what Informed Consent means.
  2. Understand what childhood immunizations are for.
  3. Understand vaccines and their risks.
  4. Check state/local requirements and allowable exemptions.
  5. Seek information from a wide variety of sources.
  6. If you choose to vaccinate, talk to your pediatrician about a modified approach.

1. Understand what Informed Consent means

Patients have the right to ask questions of their healthcare provider. For any health intervention, your provider should explain the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment to you. They should also tell you about alternative treatments that may exist.

We call this process ‘informed consent’. The aim is to promote joint decision-making between the doctor and the patient. Ultimately, informed consent ensures patients make educated decisions about their healthcare or that of their families.

Read more, including sample questions in our full Parent’s Guide to Immunization Decisions.

2. Understand what childhood immunizations are for

There are many types of vaccines ‘designed’ for children under 18 years of age, for example:

  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
  • Human Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Covid Vaccines
  • Poliovirus Vaccines
  • Flu Vaccines
  • Plus, Many More Combination Vaccines

It’s important to consider the obvious question, “what are these vaccines for?” In reality, they are protecting children from a disease that often poses very little threat to their health.

3. Understand vaccines and their risks

The use of vaccines for preventable diseases sounds like a great idea in theory. If a booster dose of a vaccine protects your baby without any risks, then most people would opt for it.

But as Dr. Mumper puts it, vaccines have two primary risks:

  1. The risk that the vaccine will not work.
  2. The risk that the vaccine causes harm.

To complicate matters further, some children are at greater risk of vaccine injury than others. For more on that, don’t miss Dr. Mumper’s Vaccine Guide for Parents.

4. Check state/local requirements and allowable exemptions

School vaccination requirements, and allowable exemptions, vary across states and local health departments. Some vaccines are required, some are recommended, and some are optional.

Knowing the requirements is key to making the best decision for your children.

5. Seek information from a wide variety of sources

While parents are usually directed to the CDC website for information about vaccines, there are other resources to look at as well. This includes books like The Vaccine-Friendly Plan and Turtles All The Way Down, plus resource websites like Children’s Health Defense.

6. If you choose to vaccinate, talk to your pediatrician about a modified approach

In some parts of the country, children cannot attend daycare or school unless they have been vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption from vaccination. Without these exemptions, many families are not in a position to homeschool or send their children to private schools.

For parents who opt to vaccinate for these or other reasons, a modified vaccine schedule is suggested. This approach spaces out the doses, eliminates some vaccines completely, and aims to reduce the child’s exposure to toxic adjuvants (such as aluminum) in vaccines.

Read more about modified vaccine schedules for children, of course, in Dr. Mumper’s guide.

Do You Have Childhood Vaccination Questions? You Aren’t Alone.

These days, more and more parents have questions about childhood vaccines.

Let’s say you have questions about childhood immunization schedules – where would you seek answers? If you’re from The United States or Canada, here are the traditional options:

  • The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Canada’s Public Health Websites

While these sites do provide information to guide parents, a growing number of questions remain unanswered.

At the end of the day, vaccines are only one method for the control and prevention of disease. What’s more, emerging data suggests that childhood vaccinations are not entirely without risks.

After advising families on childhood vaccines, Dr. Mumper says about one-third of her patients opt not to vaccinate. Other families choose to go ahead, following a modified schedule that removes many of the ‘recommended vaccines’.

Wrapping up

While we’ve delved into some key points, there’s so much more to explore. Dive into our vaccination guide to make well-informed choices for your children.

Special thanks to Dr. Mumper for helping produce this guide! For more approachable pediatric advice, check out Kid’s Corner with Dr. Liz.