Too Many Vaccines?
Recently, a handful of celebrities and books have drawn attention to the idea that we are giving our children "too many" vaccines "too soon." Some critics point to the number of vaccines in 1983 versus the number administered to our children today as evidence that these vaccines are overburdening our children's immune systems.
It is important to remember that each and every vaccine added to the list of recommended immunizations will save the lives and/or reduce the number of disabilities of children in the United States. With the introduction of every new vaccine, rates of both disease and deaths have fallen across the country. Secondly, advances in science have improved our vaccines. While children are receiving more immunizations by the age of two, they are actually receiving less antigens, or bits of the vaccine that would challenge the immune system. Overall numbers of antigens have fallen from about 3,041 in 1980 to approximately 153 today. Compare this number to the trillions of bacteria infants are exposed to, and form an immune response against, the moment they are born. Babies' immune systems are well-equipped to handle not only those bacteria but many more additional, external threats.
Finally, all vaccines are subjected to concomitant studies before they are approved for use, meaning that all new vaccines must be tested in conjunction with existing ones to ensure there are no negative interactions. Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are careful to look for any side effects associated with concomitant use before approving a new vaccine.
Below are a few studies that have determined that the recommended vaccine schedule do not overwhelm children's immune systems.
"The Problem with Dr. Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule"
- Pediatrics, Offit, Paul A. and Moser, Charlotte A. (2009; 123; 164-169)
"Adhering to Vaccine Schedule is Best Way to Protect Children from Disease"
- AAP News, Fisher, M.C. and Bocchini, J.A. (2009; 30: 4)
"Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant's Immune System?"
- Pediatrics, Offit, Paul A., Quarles, Jessica, et al. (2002; 109; 124-129)
"Cellular Immune Responses in Neonates"
- International Reviews of Immunology, Fadel S, Sarazotti M. (2000;19:173-193)
"Neonatal and Early Life Vaccinology"
- Vaccine, Siegrist CA. (2001;10: 3331-3346)