The increasing number of recommended vaccines for children is an understandable and growing concern of parents today. In the first 15 months of your child’s life there are 25 recommended vaccines in the immunization schedule for children. YIKES! No wonder parents are vaccine weary.
Of course the good news is that if your child receives all the recommended vaccines they are protected against 14 diseases. And 25 vaccines doesn’t mean 25 shots. Thanks to technological advances, many vaccines have been combined, and the rotavirus vaccine is oral.
Contrary to what you may hear, the recommended immunization schedule for children was not just pulled out of a hat, it isn’t for the doctor’s convenience and it certainly isn’t to make Big Pharma richer. No, the schedule is the way it is because those are the times when infants and young children are most at risk for being hospitalized and dying from certain diseases. Another determining factor in the design of the schedule is the way an infant’s immune system matures; some vaccines are not effective until the child reaches a certain age.
Given the level of concern by parents regarding the immunization schedule for children, the Institute of Medicine (see box below) recently conducted a detailed analysis of the US childhood immunization schedule. This is the most comprehensive examination of the immunization schedule for children to date, and it looked specifically for evidence that vaccination was linked to “autoimmune diseases, asthma, hypersensitivity, seizures, child developmental disorders, learning or developmental disorders, or attention deficit or disruptive disorders,” including autism. It found no link between vaccines and any of these child health issues.