Children vaccinated in the first two years of life are no longer at risk of getting sick than unvaccinated peers. Vaccinations for children do not weaken the immune system.
One of the most common fears in parents who are suspicious of vaccinations is that vaccines may weaken their child’s immune system, making them more susceptible to other infections than those prevented by vaccines. Various studies have already indicated that it is a unfounded fear, showing that there is actually no increase in infectious episodes after vaccinations. And now more confirmation comes from the United States.
A study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in 2018 clearly concludes that children who received vaccinations in the first two years of life they are no longer at risk of unvaccinated peers to contract some other infection. And this is true whether the vaccinations received are few, or whether they are many.
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Vaccinated children no longer get sick than unvaccinated children
The work, funded by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was led by researchers from Kaiser Permanente, a major health and research organization in the United States.
The scholars considered nearly 200 children between two and four years of age, affected by some infection not related to vaccinations – for example respiratory and gastrointestinal infections – and compared them with about 750 children of the same age and characteristics who, however, had not had infections. In particular, they went to see if there were any differences in the two groups with respect to the vaccinations performed and the total number of antigens received. Recall that antigens are the molecules which, in vaccines as well as in “natural” microbes, stimulate the immune system.
The results were very clear: no difference between the two groups, indicating that having received vaccinations did not lead to any weakening of the immune system. Regardless of the number of antigens received for each single vaccination session (up to over 130), vaccinated children did not get sick any more than unvaccinated children. A fact – reads an editorial commenting on the scientific article – that should further reassure parents of the safety of vaccinations.
Some counts on vaccine antigens
The study in question refers to the United States, but even in Italy some parents think that the current vaccination plan is too crowded, involving too many vaccinations in too little time. Let’s review: for the first two years of a child’s life, the plan provides protection against 14 diseases in all (10 of which are mandatory):
- in first year hexavalent vaccination is done (against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B and Haemophilus B), plus pneumococcal, meningococcal B and antirotavirus vaccinations;
- in second year of life is made the quadrivalent against measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox (or trivalent plus chicken pox), plus the meningococcal vaccination C.
Even more interesting, however, is to go and see how many there are actually injected antigens in the child. Generally, in fact, a vaccine contains more than one, that is, it contains more than one molecule capable of stimulating the immune system (as indeed happens in nature: every virus and bacterium we come into contact with contains from 3000 to 6000). .
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Taking into consideration the 14 vaccines mentioned above, the antigens result in everything 253: they range from the single antigen for hepatitis B, to the two antigens for rotavirus and Haemophilus B, to 93 for MPR, to 105 for meningococcus B (information contained in the booklet Pediatric vaccinations, the difficult questions, of the Higher Institute of health care). Many? Well, think that children born in the sixties and seventies received well 3215, because they made smallpox (198 antigens) which is no longer done today (the disease has been eradicated from the planet) and above all they made a vaccine against pertussis that contained as many as 3002 antigens, while the current one contains only three.
But that’s not all: as the ISS brochure recalls, “it has been calculated that at the moment of birth and in the first hours of life, the child comes into contact with more than 400 different species of bacteria. Since each bacterial species has from 3000 to 6000 different antigens, it follows that a newborn is immediately exposed to more than a million antigens. “Far more than those he receives in two years with the 14 vaccinations provided.
The risks of measles
In short, the studies are now in agreement: vaccines do not weaken the immune system and do not make you sick more. On the other hand, other studies confirm the downside and that is that it is precisely the diseases prevented by vaccines that weaken the immune system, and in particular the measles, which reduces the immune system for two to three years after infection.
Other sources for this article: Are too many vaccines given to too young children? in Doctor but is it true that?
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