I’d have to say that the most common concern parents bring up at their babies’ well visits is this – won’t all those vaccines given at once overwhelm the immune system? I mean, when we were babies we only got a few vaccines, now there are dozens of doses in the first year of life. That can’t possibly be safe! And you know what? I get where they’re coming from. That seems only natural to a logical person, right? Can you imagine how sick you’d be if you caught pneumonia, meningitis, whooping cough, viral gastroenteritis, and the flu all at the same time? Yeah, you’d be in the ICU and lucky to survive. But getting VACCINATED for all these diseases at the same time isn’t the same thing. It’s actually pretty tough to overwhelm the immune system. As you read in my previous post (because you totally have time to drop everything and read all 63 pages from my last post), the human immune system is very complex and sophisticated. It can multitask pretty well. Think of all the different missions the US military is working on RIGHT NOW, in addition to running its universities, inventing stuff, building said stuff, recruiting, running hospitals, making TV ads, the list goes on and on. Remember antigens? OK, in case you skipped your homework earlier, an antigen is a feature of a germ that the immune system uses to recognize not-self. It’s something the immune system feels compelled to respond to. On the day you were born, assuming you were delivered vaginally, your immune system was presented with literally thousands of antigens that it had to deal with all at the same time. You know how many antigens are in my vaccines? There are about 25 per dose. The maximum I ever give in one day is 8. That’s 200 antigens. Did I mention that you were exposed to thousands the day you were born? See? Vaccines are a drop in the bucket of stuff your immune system has to do today.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23847024 – Hey look! Someone actually studied it! It HAS been studied! Behold the study, people.
Wait a minute, my sister’s boyfriend’s aunt posted this article from Natural News and it said that no one has studied the impact of the current vaccine schedule on children’s immune systems. What’s that, you say? There are lots of studies? Shut the front door!
Oh, and vaccines don’t increase the risk of autoimmune diseases, allergies, or asthma either.
Congratulations, readers – you just made it through the most academically grueling material I’m going to post on my blog. Whew! Immunology is not for the faint of heart, y’all.