Category Archives: Vaccine Q & A

Can you vaccinate your child if he is sick?

Red Typewriter Magazine

You don’t need to go canceling your child’s vaccination appointment if he has the sniffles, cough, upset stomach, sore throat, ear infection, mild diarrhea, low-grade fever (less than 101*F), among whatever other mild symptoms may arise. He is still able to get his vaccinations, and here’s why:

Vaccines don’t make mild illnesses worse. In fact, your kiddo’s immune system battles millions of microbes and foreign antigens every day and vaccines offer only a teeny tiny fraction of those antigens for the immune system to process. For otherwise healthy children and babies, vaccines can not overload the immune system; in fact, that would be really hard to do. (For more about not being able to overload the immune system:

Vaccine also don’t make symptoms of mild illness worse. However, vaccines can SOMETIMES cause soreness and swelling at the injection site or mild fever. Continue reading

Why do we need to keep vaccinating if the disease is “gone”?

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-4-25-16-pmThe short answer?

The diseases are not gone.

The long answer?

It’s true that diseases we vaccinate against are becoming very rare in developed parts of the world, however we owe that to a number of factors. We wash our hands, clean our food and the things we encounter, take precautions with the sick because we are for the most part informed people, but the biggest reason of all why these diseases are scarce is because we vaccinate and we keep vaccinating.

I absolutely love this analogy from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

“It’s much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, ‘Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax.’ But the leak hasn’t stopped. Before long we’d notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.” Continue reading

Can a baby’s immune system handle more than one vaccine at a time?

Babies are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. Hands and objects enter those little babies’ mouths just about every minute, exposing their immune systems to antigens on a daily basis. Their immune systems are always working to fend off intruders.

Immune system cells are constantly hard at work. But it comes to vaccines, there is no evidence that combining vaccines can “overload” an infant’s immune system. And many studies have demonstrated that a baby’s immune system can handle receiving more than one vaccine at a time.

It has been shown that infants could receive more than the recommended amount of vaccines given at a time without compromising the immune system’s ability to respond appropriately. Babies’ immune systems are much stronger than you think. According to Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines, a 1994 report from the Institute of Medicine, based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time!3 They even went so far as to say that even if all 14 childhood vaccines were given at once, only slightly more than 0.1% of the baby’s immune system capacity would be at work.

Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommend combination vaccines whenever they are available. 

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What’s the difference between simultaneous and combination vaccines?

Combination vaccines contain more than one vaccine in a single shot. Studies have shown that all of the vaccines in each combination shot are compatible with each other and stimulate the immune system appropriately to provide protection. Combination vaccines have been used in the United States since the mid-1940’s, with a constantly maintained safety profile. Simultaneous vaccines are two or more vaccines given at the same time. Combination vaccines and simultaneous vaccines offer the same amount of protection. It does not matter which way you or your children choose to receive the recommended vaccines, however combination vaccines do offer several benefits:

  • With only one shot given, it may be less traumatic
  • Combination vaccines are a great way to vaccinate children as quickly as possible so that they have protection early in life when they are most vulnerable.
  • Fewer visits to the doctor’s office to get multiple single vaccines saves time and money

Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend combination vaccines whenever they are available. 

Can a baby’s immune system handle more than one vaccine at a time?

Vaccine Shedding: Should You Really Be Concerned?

Question: My child just got the MMR vaccine and has a bit of a rash. Should I be concerned about him giving his friends the measles?

Short answer: Nope.

Long answer: Sounds like you’re worried about “vaccine shedding”.

Let’s first discuss what “viral shedding” is. When someone gets sick with a virus, they become contagious and can spread the virus to someone else. The spread happens when the viral particles are expelled from the sick person’s body via a cough or sneeze, or transferred by direct contact to another person. The “shedding” is the viral particles leaving the sick person’s body. You can probably picture this happening, like shedding dead skin cells. Virus all over the place!

When people throw the term “vaccine shedding” around, they are referring to the virus in the vaccine being shed from a recently vaccinated person’s body. Before getting into vaccine shedding, I want to stress that this is super rare. Lots of parents are concerned about their children catching viruses from vaccinated children, when they should really be concerned about catching the virus from unvaccinated children. Continue reading