Do Vaccines Weaken the Immune System?

Dr. Greene’s take on vaccines…

Babies get so many shots these days! About a quarter of parents are concerned that the sheer number of vaccinations might overwhelm, weaken, or use up a baby’s immature immune system. Evidence published in the Jan. 2002 issue of Pediatrics suggests that the opposite is true.

By conservative estimates, their sturdy immune systems are built to able to respond to as many as 10,000 foreign proteins by making antibodies to them. The study explains that if a baby were to receive all 12 available vaccinations at once, this would occupy only a tiny fraction of the immune system — and that part would be quickly replenished.

Compared with the huge exposure children normally have to the germs in their environment (and in their own bodies) a vaccine is quite small. And even though the number of vaccines children receive has increased recently, the number of proteins in these vaccines has dropped.

One vaccine, the smallpox vaccine, used to contain 200 proteins. Today’s recommended vaccinations contain only around 130 proteins combined. And these help to prepare your child’s immune system to respond to its most important threats.

Medical Review on: May 23, 2015
About the Author
Photo of Dr. Alan Greene
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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