Yesterday, we learned that infants are exposed to no more than 315 antigens total from the many immunizations they receive in the first two years of life.
315 . That’s all. Considering the number of potentially harmful antigens we humans come in contact with on a daily basis — especially the young ones who play on the floor and in the dirt, put everything in their mouths, and don’t wash their hands before they eat — it is truly amazing the public health miracles that are modern vaccines. The Institute of Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says concerns that infants and young children receive too many vaccines at such a young age are “unfounded”:
The immune systems of infants and children encounter millions of antigens in their environment every day; vaccines only contain a tiny fraction of a typical child’s daily exposure to antigens. New vaccines are tested extensively for safety and effectiveness at the recommended ages and with other recommended vaccines for years prior to introduction in the U.S. as part of the rigorous FDA requirements for licensure. The recommended schedule for children is then carefully constructed by the ACIP in collaboration with major physician organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians in order to provide the greatest possible safety and protection against disease. Refusing or delaying vaccines, or following alternative schedules, has been shown to increase risk of disease.
Yet another study, this one published last week in JAMA, further debunks the “too many too soon” meme and the false belief that leads to unnecessary parental requests to separate or delay vaccines. Robert Preidt says the research confirms that multiple immunizations given early in life don’t overload or damage the young immune systems of infants and toddlers and make them more susceptible to infections:
The research included more than 940 children who received multiple recommended vaccinations during their first 23 months. They were followed for two years.
Researchers looked for illnesses that included lower and upper respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, and other viral and bacterial infections. None were infections targeted by the vaccines used.
Glanz’s team found no associations between vaccines and any increased risk of getting these infections.
Vaccines are safe. They work, saving lives every single day including yours and the ones you love. Delaying vaccines or separating them so they are given one at a time is, for most infants and children, unnecessary, inadvisable, and dangerous. Parents should be extremely wary of taking advice from anyone who opposes complete and on-time, life- and limb-protecting immunizations for all children.
*** On January 22, 2018, Pediatric Alliance and some of our pediatric colleagues from around the United States began participating in an 8-week AAP-sponsored immunization advocacy campaign on social media. Please follow all our social media posts during this project on Facebook and Twitter.