Parents who fear that their baby’s immune system may be weakened by routine vaccines should rest easy. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims that infants who receive multiple vaccines were not any more likely to get unrelated infections than toddlers who got fewer vaccines.
“This new study suggests the theory of overloading an infant’s immune system is highly unlikely,” said Jason Glanz, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research.
Babies are vaccinated for a number of ailments such as whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella, chickenpox, polio, diarrhea, pneumonia and many others. Glanz noted that many parents fret over the idea of giving their children multiple vaccines because they fear of “overloading” their immune system and increase the risk of future infection.
To reach this conclusion, Dr. Glanz and his colleagues examined a random sample of 193 children who had been diagnosed with a non-vaccine targeted infection and a control group of 751 children who weren’t diagnosed with these infections. The children were drawn from a pool of 500 thousand infants from birth to 47-months-of-age over a 12-year period.
The researchers focused on the estimated exposure to vaccine antigen, which is a protein or other substance that induces an immune response in the body. The effects of these substances take place within the first 23 months of life in children.
In this case, the team studied kids who caught infections covered by vaccines as well as non-vaccine infections, such as respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and other bacterial infections.
The total vaccine antigen exposure was not linked to an increased risk of infections not targeted by vaccines over the next 24 months of life.
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