The recommended schedule is designed to work best with a child’s immune system at certain ages and at specific times. The recommendations are based on an infant’s ability to generate an immune response, as well as when they are most at risk for certain illnesses. The best time for a child to be vaccinated for most diseases is within the first 2 years of life, which makes it feel like children receive a lot of vaccines in a short period of time. While the actual shots might be uncomfortable for a few seconds, it’s the best protection you can offer your baby, and his/her immune system is more than capable of handling the regimen.
Babies are hospitalized and can die from some vaccine-preventable diseases, so it is important to vaccinate them as soon as it is safe. The recommended schedule is designed to work best with a child’s immune system at certain ages and at specific times. There is no research to show that a child would be equally protected against diseases with a very different schedule. Also, there is no scientific reason why spreading out the shots would be safer. But we do know that any length of time without immunizations is a time without protection. The Institute of Medicine released a report in January 2013 about the safety of the current childhood immunization schedule.
Vaccines are our best defense against many diseases, which can result in serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis (swelling of the lining of the brain), liver cancer, bloodstream infections, and even death. CDC recommends vaccinations to protect children against 14 infectious diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), polio, influenza (flu), and pneumococcal disease.
Each vaccine-preventable disease, however, can cause serious illness or death in unvaccinated populations, and might quickly reappear in the community if vaccination rates dropped. In recent years since vaccination rates have dropped, the United States has seen mumps outbreaks with severe complications and hospitalizations required for some patients. And before the introduction of the Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae type B) vaccine, Hib meningitis affected more than 12,000 American children annually, killing 600 and leaving many others with seizures, deafness, and developmental disabilities. After introduction of the vaccine, the number of deaths from Hib dropped to fewer than 10 per year.