Vaccines 101: Too Much Too Soon?

Posted on Sep 9, 2016

One of the most common concerns that I am questioned about from parents these days is the notion that babies are getting way more vaccines at a young age now compared to when we were young. There seems to be a lot of concern that we are “overloading” their young immune system.

This article does a very good job of clearly explaining answers to these questions, and I urge you to read the whole piece:

Here are some excerpts.

Our environment and everything in it is made of up proteins and antigens, there’s no way to escape them. Our babies are exposed to antigens when they breastfeed, lay on a blanket, crawl on the floor, chew on an apple slice, even just breathing and existing.  Each of these activities exposes a baby to hundreds of antigens. The labor and delivery process naturally exposes them to hundreds and hundreds of antigens.

To the question of “there are so many more vaccines now then there were when we were young, is it too much?”

The simple answer is: though you and I had fewer vaccines as kids, your child is actually being exposed to fewer antigens and preservatives than we were.

When we were children (70s, 80s and early 90s) we were vaccinated against fewer things (which were nonetheless still deadly). Let’s take the CDC’s vaccine schedule from 1983 for example. There were seven diseases we were protected against including measles, mumps, rubella, (MMR), Diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) and polio. Because of how vaccines were made at the time, we were exposed to about 3,000 antigens by the time we were 12 months old and 12,000 by the time we were 4 if we got all of our vaccines.

Today’s CDC schedule provides protection against 14 diseases before the age of two. If a child today receives all their vaccines on schedule and has received all doses by 12 months, they will have been exposed to 150-204 antigens, depending on the timing of their 12 month shots. If they have received all the recommended vaccines by age four, depending on the timing of their four year shots, they will have been exposed to exactly 359 antigens for ALL vaccines from birth through age four.

When you compare 204 and 359 antigens to about 3,000 to 12,000, just 30-40 years ago, that’s a huge reduction in exposure as well as additional protection against 6 more diseases! Additionally, as the antigen dose in each vaccine has decreased, there has been a corresponding drop in both the amount of preservatives in each vaccine, and the total amount of preservatives received (fewer antigens means fewer preservatives).

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