Creating a Selective/Delayed Vaccination Schedule

Much of the recent media coverage on the debate about childhood vaccinations and the possible links to autism or other neurological disorders presents the issue as an “either/or” decision.  Parents may feel they either have to vaccinate their children in complete compliance with the CDC mandated schedule or choose not to vaccinate their children at all.

A growing number of parents are discovering that vaccines are not all-or-nothing.  If for any reason, you don’t feel comfortable with the vaccine schedule created by the CDC, there are steps you can take to create a schedule of immunizations that you feel comfortable with for each of your children.

1) Do your research.  You will find impassioned viewpoints on either side of the vaccine debate, and it’s important to carefully evaluate the source of the material you are reading.  Two resources that take a careful, middle-of-the-road approach are Dr. Stephanie Cave’s What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations (2001) and Dr. Bob Sears’ The Vaccine Book (2007).  (Dr. Sears has created an online companion to his book that includes a blog, online discussion forum, FAQs, and more.  He also answers reader questions in a bi-monthly column at Metropolitan Mama.)

2) Evaluate your child’s unique and specific needs.  Is there a history of illness in your family that causes you to be concerned about your child receiving vaccinations as a younger baby?  Do you live in a community where there is a high incidence of a vaccine-preventable illness?  Do you and your family plan to travel out of the country any time soon?  There are many questions to consider when deciding which vaccines you want your child to receive and when.  As your child’s parent, no one is better qualified than you to look at the big picture and make these decisions.

3) Create a vaccine schedule that best suits your child.  Having done your research, you may feel comfortable following the CDC mandated schedule.  If not, you can create a schedule that you feel will best meet the needs of your child(ren).  Both Dr. Cave and Dr. Sears provide suggested schedules in their books, and there are more examples of schedules to be found online.

4) Talk with your doctor.  Schedule an appointment to discuss the schedule you have created.  Dr. Sears has some excellent insight into how to approach the discussion with your doctor.  Some physicians may be more open to an alternative vaccine schedule than others.  If you feel strongly that an alternative vaccine schedule is important to your child’s health and well-being and your doctor strongly opposes the schedule you have created, it may be that you will want to find a new health care provider.

5) Understand exemptions.  If there are certain vaccines you oppose your child receiving, you may want to research your state’s specific policies and procedures on vaccine exemptions.  This article at the National Vaccine Information Center is a good place to start educating yourself on vaccine exemptions.

FEEDBACK: Have you created an alternative vaccine schedule you would like to share with others?  Tell us about it in the comments or link to your own posted schedule!

What do you think?



  1. 15

    The best way to find a pedi who is good about this is to lookup other moms in your area via yahoogroups or meetup. You can find “crunchy” moms who can give you a list of pedis!
    In the Houston area, we use
    Rajamma E. Kalia, M.D.
    She is super fabulous and is always thinking outside the box, and doesn’t put them on antibiotics everytime we go in!

  2. 16


    I know Dallas is not very close to Lufkin, Texas. However, in case you don’t find one closer, my doctor is alternative-schedule-friendly:
    Dr. Anuradha Agrawal, MD
    Suite 201
    3310 Live Oak Street, Dallas, TX 75204
    (214) 823-2552‎

  3. 17

    I am trying to find a alternative-schedule friendly doctor near Lufkin, Texas. The only ones I’ve found are near Dallas which is 4 hours away. Anybody know of any closer?

  4. 18

    Terri try Dr. Nina Cahan in copell. We love her and she is very supportive of individualized medicine 😉

  5. 19

    Dr. Sears has a list of “Vaccine-Friendly Doctors” on his website. Fortunately, I live within 15 minutes of one. Here’s the link: Hope this helps some of you.

  6. 20
    Terri Domenech says:

    BE PREPARED! 99% of pediatricians are refusing to see patients that are not immunized according to THEIR standards. The one percent that will see you will be TOTAL jerks about it and every Drs. visit will be a struggle. I leave in tears from every visit and I have scoured all available Drs. in my area. They are not willing to build a relationship. It’s their way or no way and we are paying them? I am in the Lewisville Texas area. If anyone knows of a supportive pediatrician…

    • 21

      Did you ever find a pediatrician who allows for alternative or selective vaccination schedule? If not I go to one in Highland Village very close to Lewisville -Kids First 972-317-6000, Dr Badaracco is really sweet and will allow for your vaccination schedule and tell you if there are any outbreaks and if one is really needed or not-we have been going by Dr Sears alternative schedule and there is no problem

  7. 22

    Very important information and valuable. I have held my son back by 4 months on his schedule so far and spread the vaccinations apart farther. I just feel better with this decision in the long run. Allowing our kids to take a little more time…means comfort for mama.

    Thank you for a perfectly wonderful post!
    Juicy Jenn

  8. 23

    Laura – that is not accurate. CPS in Texas cannot even initiate an investigation for declining vaccinations.


    “(b) The commissioner by rule shall prohibit a health and human services agency from taking a punitive action against a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare for failure of the person to ensure that the child receives the immunization series prescribed by Section 161.004, Health and Safety Code.”

  9. 24

    Thanks for a good overview on vax scheduling. Wi followed a slightly modified version of Dr Stephanie Cave’s schedule with our oldest daughter. For our second I’m not sure if we’ll do the same or maybe Dr Sears. More likely we’ll do something hybrid drawing from both sources. Thankfully we have a ped who is totally fine with our choices.

  10. 25

    Excellent post! It’s so important for parents to know that vaccines aren’t “all-or-nothing.” There are actually quite a few “choices” that parents can make regarding vaccines and it’s great to see some of those options highlighted here!

  11. 26

    Thank you so much! I’ve been looking into this issue and becoming more and more convinced I want an alternative schedule. I don’t have a pediatrician yet and I’m praying for one who will be gracious to be a little unconventional. If anyone has good suggestions for finding a pediatrician I’d love some help. There are hundreds to choose from. My first baby is due in two months. 🙂

  12. 27

    excellent post. thanks for sharing this information. 🙂

  13. 28

    Laura – that is interesting. I live in Texas and we took our daughter home from the hospital with her having not received any vaccines. Our pediatrician sent us home with her blessing and I am not aware that any CPS reports were filed on us.

    Maybe policies vary by city/county.

  14. 29

    My friend is a nurse in Texas and if the parents refuse the initial vaccinations when the baby first leaves the hospital the Doctor is required to notify Child protective services. I thought that was very interesting.