Anti-Vaxxers Lose A Message Point

Routine vaccinations not found to weaken children’s overall immunity

cute baby healthy smiling on the floor

The anti-vaccination movement may have lost one of their media message points.

In a new, case-control research study, an appropriate vaccine schedule was found not to weaken children’s overall immunity.

These researchers found no statistically significant difference in the level of immunity against non–vaccine-targeted infections between the 2 groups of children.

According to this study, the mean cumulative antigen exposure for children enrolled in the study was 240.6 for cases and 242.9 for controls.

This study was conducted in 6 US healthcare organizations participating in the Vaccine Safety Datalink and was published in JAMA.

The research was performed on children aged 2 to 4 years of age with 193 cases with non–vaccine-targeted infections and 751 control cases, without non–vaccine-targeted infections.

“Essentially, this study confirms that vaccines don’t ‘weaken’ a child’s immune system,” says Sean O’Leary, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, investigator for the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, director of the Pediatric Practice-Based Research Network, and author of a related editorial.

“Children who receive vaccines aren’t any more likely to get sick from illnesses that are not targeted by the vaccines,” said Dr. O’Leary

In 2013, the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine called for increased research into the safety of the entire childhood immunization schedule. Although pre- and post-licensure studies had examined the safety and efficacy of individual vaccines separately and in combination with other vaccines, these studies did not examine the safety of the overall vaccine schedule.

The number of routine childhood vaccinations has grown over the years, and so has parental concerns.

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From the moment babies are born, they are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis.

Children are given vaccines at a young age because this is when they are at highest risk of getting sick or dying if they get these diseases, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Many vaccines are recommended early in life to protect young children from dangerous infectious diseases.

Moreover, combination vaccines have been in use in the United States since the mid-1940s.

Examples of combination vaccines are: DTap (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), trivalent IPV (three strains of inactivated polio vaccine), MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), DTap-Hib, and Hib-Hep B.

The updated 2018 Recommended Immunizations For Infants and Children (Birth through 6 Years) from the CDC can be found here. 

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information. Vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

These researchers did not disclose any conflicts of interest: Jason M. Glanz, PhD, Sophia R. Newcomer, MPH; Matthew F. Daley, MD; Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH; Holly C. Groom, MPH;Michael L. Jackson, PhD; Bruno J. Lewin, MD; Natalie L. McCarthy, MPH, David L. McClure, PhD; Komal J. Narwaney, MPH, PhD; James D. Nordin, MD, MPH; Ousseny Zerbo, PhD.