Decade of vaccines collaboration qa with damian walker


Vaccines: the antigenic load in the first 24 months of life is not excessive

“But so all together, aren’t there too many? Don’t they weaken the immune system? ” This is one of the concerns that some parents most often express when faced with vaccinations expected in the first two years of life.

Compared to a few decades ago, the number of vaccines included in the vaccination calendar has increased, as has the use of combined vaccines (such as the hexavalent vaccine, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine). Therefore, it is legitimate for parents to ask these questions and health care professionals must be able to provide evidence-based answers.

There are all the objective elements to provide a reassuring answer

The vaccines available today are extremely purified and controlled in the composition and number of antigens (generally of the order of units) and, despite the fact that the number of infectious diseases against which vaccination is carried out in the first two years of life has increased compared to some ten years ago.

The maximum number of antigens currently administered is lower than that which Italian children received in the past: it has been estimated that by adding all the vaccines administered in the first two years of life, a total number of about 250 antigens is reached.

On the contrary, any infectious disease caused by a single pathogen involves exposure of the organism to thousands of antigens.

  1. At two months of age, the baby’s immune system is already able to respond to vaccination and waiting does not help to increase the safety of the vaccination.
  2. Conversely, postponing vaccinations can carry risks because it extends the time the baby is susceptible to preventable infections and some diseases are much more dangerous if contracted in the first few months of life.

It should also be remembered that the use of combined vaccines offers numerous advantages, including the reduced number of vaccination sessions required, with less stress for the children, a reduced risk of adverse reactions, a lower commitment for families and a lower burden of children. vaccination centers.

If vaccinations were really capable of weakening or overloading the immune system

In 2013, the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine, stressed the need to carry out further studies in this regard, so as to be able to respond with more complete and detailed information to parental concerns.

If vaccinations were really capable of weakening or overloading the immune systemThe hypothesis was examined by a Danish study that found no evidence that exposure to multiple antigens is associated with an increased risk for infectious diseases that cannot be prevented by vaccination.

  1. More recently, a study conducted in the US and published in the prestigious Jama (Journal of the American Medical Association) has reached the same conclusion.
  2. This is a case-control study within a large cohort of 495,193 children born from 1 January 2003 to 31 September 2013, and conducted by 6 health organizations participating in the Vaccine Safety Datalink, the research project created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Cdc) to conduct epidemiological studies on vaccine safety.