An increasing number of parents are concerned about vaccinating their children, questioning doctors about the need and safety of adhering to the immunization scheme recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, decades of studies have shown that vaccines are safe and that administering the vaccine according to the CDC guidelines is crucial for building immunity in young bodies, Live Science experts said.
Parents worried about the vaccine usually ask similar questions, said Dr. Robert Jacobson, a pediatric and adolescent medicine doctor with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. They want to know if it is more painful to get three or four shots at a time, whether the baby's immune system can handle more vaccines and what might happen if the vaccines are late.
"The other issues are distrust of the healthcare system [and] government, ”said Heidi Larson, an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and director of the Vaccine Trust Project, which studies people's views on immunization.
These fears may prompt parents to remove or delay vaccinations, but such a course can endanger the health of the child and increase the risk of contracting a preventative and potentially life-threatening illness, according to the CDC.
Related: Can You Still Get Measles If You Are Vaccinated?
Is it really more painful for infants to get multiple shots in a single visit? No – on the contrary, studies have found that infants have more pain when medical procedures that suffer from pain are spread over several days, compared to when more procedures are performed on the same day, Jacobson says.
In infants exposed to multiple heels of the heel – collecting blood through a puncture – drawn out over several days, painful interventions heightened anxiety and the expectation of pain, researchers reported in 2002. in JAMA magazine.These babies "learned to anticipate pain and exhibited more intense reactions to pain" during procedures than infants who did not receive recurrent pain.
As for multiple vaccines, the recommended combinations do not overwhelm, weaken and "use" the baby's immune system, as some parents fear; in fact, multiple shots ultimately enhance the baby's natural resistance to pathogens, researchers said in a 2002 study in the journal Pediatrics.
"Young infants have a tremendous capacity to respond to multiple vaccines, as well as many other environmental challenges," scientists wrote in a 2002 Pediatrics study. "By protecting against many bacterial and viral pathogens, vaccines prevent the immune system from weakening and [the] consequent secondary bacterial infections occasionally caused by a natural infection. "
Race against time
As for delaying vaccinated immunizations, waiting for the vaccine to be administered can actually be dangerous to the health of the child.
Such delays can be risky because children need a vaccine before their first encounter with the disease, Jacobson said. "If this schedule is intended to be a race against time to protect the child before he or she is exposed, the delayed schedule actually increases[s] a chance for a child to get sick before they get the vaccine, "he said.
Adding time between doses could mean that some vaccines are given too close to other scheduled vaccines, so your child's immune system may not respond to any vaccines and will ignore them altogether. This could nullify the effectiveness of both immunizations and the child is exposed to the disease.
When it comes to vaccinating babies and young children, time is crucial, Jacobson said. For example, a baby may get some flu immunity from the mother; the flu vaccine will not work until that protection fades. Other vaccines, such as rotavirus inoculation, cannot be given after a certain age. Infants receive two or three doses of rotavirus vaccine, but after infancy at 8 months, these vaccines carry an increased risk of a condition called intussusception, when one segment of the gut is "telescoped" within another segment, which can potentially lead to blockage.
Moreover, when parents opt for a delayed vaccination schedule, they rarely adhere to it. In children born in Portland, Oregon, between 2003 and 2009, only about 1% of parents who delayed vaccinations for their children actually followed the modified schedule, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal pediatrics.
"It's hard to bring your kids to the doctors multiple times," Jacobson said. "Everything from scheduling to parking makes it even more complex, and your children's lives and their own lives get in the way."
Originally Posted on Live Science.