Vaccines- Overwhelming Immune Systems or Overwhelmingly Positive?

child-vaccinationThere is so much for parents to think about when a child is born, and the topic of vaccines is one of the most important. Within this topic, there is a viewpoint that vaccinating an infant isn’t a good decision because it overwhelms their immune system. In fact, According to a 2002 artcile in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a survey was taken that showed an increase in the amount of parents who believed that infants were getting too many immunizations.

However, speaking of overwhelming, there is overwhelming supporting evidence that vaccinations for infants do not overwhelm the immune system and are in fact necessary and important.

immunizationThough small, babies’ immune systems are already mighty, and mightier than you think. An article on parenting.com entitled ’10 Vaccine Myths—Busted’ quotes Dr. Paul Offit from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia saying, “A baby’s body is bombarded with immunologic challenges  — from bacteria in food to the dust they breathe. Compared to what they typically encounter and manage during the day, vaccines are literally a drop in the ocean.”  Infants are designed to fight back against pathogens, in conjunction with the vaccination helping to ultimately strengthen the immune system, as explained in the summary of the Pediatrics article.

Another factor that arises when it comes to overwhelming immune systems is the number of vaccinations given to children nowadays. A piece on the website of the organization Immunize For Good explains that “the number of vaccines recommended for your child is much larger than the handful of vaccines you received as a child, but the quantity of vaccines available today increases the quality of protection.” This is because although the number of vaccines has increased, the amount of harmful antigens in vaccines has actually decreased. This is noted in both the Immunization for Good article as well as the Pediatrics article. Further, it’s important to note that “vaccines are as effective given in combination as they are given individually” (http://www.parenting.com/article/10-vaccine-myths—busted?page=0,1). photogallery_infant_immunization_10_full

In closing, the myth that vaccines overload a child—particularly infant’s—immune system is simply false. Immunizations are necessary at such a young age in order to prevent infectious disease, therefore protecting children, parents, and the wider society.

Sources:

http://www.parenting.com/article/10-vaccine-myths—busted?page=0,1

http://www.immunizeforgood.com/fact-or-fiction/overwhelming-their-immune-system

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/1/124.full

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