Parents who are worried about their kids getting too many vaccines at once can rest easy, a new study says.
Children who get more vaccines are not any more likely to get unrelated infections compared to kids who get fewer vaccines, or who got their shots spaced out as recommended, NBC News reports. This means that toddlers or infants have their immune systems intact even when they get immunized all at once.
Jason Glanz of the Institute for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Colorado and colleagues looked carefully at the number of antigens, or the molecules that stimulate the immune system’s response, in kids who got many vaccines in one go. Glanz said,
Some parents are concerned that multiple vaccines in early childhood could weaken their child’s immune system.
It’s certainly true that children now get more vaccines that in the past. The study authors wrote, “In the past three decades, the routine childhood immunization schedule in the first two years of life expanded from three vaccines against seven diseases to 10 vaccines against 14 diseases.”
Infants are generally given shots against diphtheria and tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, chickenpox, hepatitis and viruses that cause meningitis, pneumonia and diarrhea. Glanz said, “Some parents believe this increase in vaccine exposure is harmful to children, with specific concerns that early childhood immunization ‘overloads’ the immune system and increases the risk for future infection.” He added, “Based in part on this concern, an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of parents are choosing delayed or alternative immunization schedules for their children.”
Several studies have proven that this is not true, and a 2013 report by the National Academy of Medicine stated that there is no evidence to prove that sticking to a childhood immunization schedule is unsafe.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.