Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Alternative vaccination schedule

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

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


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. Intentional deviation from the ACIP's schedule leaves children vulnerable to infection and increases the likelihood of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. These schedules also increase the financial costs to patients, since they require the use of more expensive single-antigen vaccines and additional office visits.


An increasing number of children are undervaccinated, of whom an estimated 13% or more are believed to be so because of parental choice. One survey, published in Vaccine, found that 9.4% of parents in King County, Washington used an alternative vaccine schedule, 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. In a 2011 survey of Washington State pediatricians, 77% of them reported that their patients "sometimes or frequently" asked for alternative vaccination schedules. The same survey found that 61% of pediatricians were comfortable with using such a schedule if a parent asked for it. 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. Even pro-vaccine parents often tolerate other parents' decisions to adopt alternative vaccine schedules.


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

Types of schedules

A 2016 study identified five different types of alternative vaccine schedules: Dr. Sears' schedule, a shot-limiting schedule, selective delaying or refusal, making vaccine decisions visit-by-visit, or refusing all vaccines.


Alternative vaccination schedule Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Off the Black
Marilynn Brewer
Jenny Simmons