Is it possible to overload the immune system by giving too many vaccines to children?

Pregnancy and Children
Last updated: 25/08/21
ANSWER BY: Dr Richard Dawood Medical Director
Date Added: 09/08/21

From birth, babies’ immune systems protect them from the germs that surround them. Without this protection, babies would not be able to cope with the tens of thousands of bacteria and viruses that cover their skin, nose, throat and intestines. Vaccines are designed to strengthen a baby’s immune system and protect them from very serious diseases. There is no evidence that any vaccine programme “overloads” a child’s immune system. In the US, where more vaccines are given in a single GP visit than in the UK, a study (Offit et al, 2002) found no difference in hospital admissions among children who had had multiple immunisations compared with children who had had only polio vaccine. In theory, a baby could respond safely and effectively to around 10,000 vaccines at any one time (Offit et al, 2002). So a baby’s immune system can and does easily cope with the addition of multiple doses of vaccine to the immunisation programme.

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