Updated: Octubre 9, 2008
In the early 1940s only one vaccine was given routinely: smallpox. Later that decade, the diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccine began to be given routinely. Now, by the time a newborn is 12 years of age, she will have received 30-35 doses of vaccines to protect her against 34 diseases.
Looking at the number of shots given at each pediatric visit, many parents wonder whether a baby’s immune system can withstand so many immunizations—almost half of the parents in a survey expressed this concern as a reason for not vaccinating their children.1
The fact is that vaccines strengthen, not weaken, the immune system. This is true even for newborn infants. On the other hand, a natural infection clearly can weaken a child’s immune system. For example, a previously healthy child with chickenpox (varicella) may become infected with dangerous bacteria, resulting in an infection severe enough to require hospitalization or even cause death. Similarly, a child with measles infection is more likely to develop middle ear infections.
Infants and children are bombarded with germs every day in the air they breathe and the food they eat, but their immune systems are able to handle these exposures. The vaccines that are recommended for all children use only a small portion of the immune system’s “memory.” Scientists estimated that based on the immune system’s capacity to respond, a child could theoretically get 10,000 vaccines in one day and still not “use up” his or her immune ability to respond.2
This Immunization Issues essay is an excerpt from the book Do Vaccines Cause That?! A Guide for Evaluating Vaccine Safety Concerns written by NNii authors Martin G. Myers and Diego Pineda.