Vaccines Dissected: Part 3

Fear magnifies risk – nothing is truer when it comes to the debate surrounding vaccines. The fear of not having all the information to make the best decision for our child; the fear of being misled and pressured to protect the greater good at the possible expense of our own; the fear of lining pockets and supporting industry at a cost beyond monetary. These statements, just printed on paper, elicit emotion and make us feel vulnerable. There is so much information available at our fingertips, but very little of it has been verified and supported through actual study. Moreover, scientific research regarding vaccines is often dry and cumbersome to explore, whereas an editorial is by nature more interesting and thought-provoking. The moment emotion enters the debate is the moment that risk becomes distorted.

I still remember being on a general surgery rotation as a 3rd year medical student and hearing about a patient who had been given an inhale…

Vaccines Dissected: Part 2

As a sequel to last week’s blog regarding the non-impact of vaccine additives, let’s explore the grand impact of the vaccine itself on the immune system… One of the questions I address most often with my patients’ parents is “Do you think an infant can handle so many shots at once?” The desire to space out vaccines is a strong one for many families – 3 shots just seems like too many for a 2-month-old – especially because combination vaccines are given at this time and the child may be receiving 8 vaccines at a single visit.

So, are there greater side effects associated with getting 8 vaccines versus 1 vaccine at once?

The simple answer is no… but let’s understand why. Each vaccine presents the developing, but not totally naïve, immune system with a certain number of antigens. As discussed last week, the Hepatitis B vaccine in particular, deploys 1 antigen per injection to stimulate the development of antibodies agai…