by Cindy Stolten and Rita Hoffman
Editor’s note: This is the fourth post in a series as critical background for The Truth About Vaccines docuseries launching on April 12. Sign up here and follow along with us. We scour the scientific literature to understand the impacts on the infant immune system. This new white paper summarizes over 60 peer-reviewed (PubMed) studies on the 14 infant vaccines. The authors thank Louise Kuo Habakus for helping to make this paper possible.
Over the past 30 years the vaccine schedule for infants has greatly increased. Babies born in 2017 can receive as many as 36 doses of 14 vaccines by 15 months of age starting with the Hepatitis B vaccine on the day of birth.
Untested schedule, knowledge severely lacking
The quantity and combination of vaccines in this schedule have never been tested. The infant vaccine schedule is one size fits all. Babies’ immune systems are not tested and family histories of autoimmune or allergic conditions are not considered prior to vaccinating.
This started with the first round of childhood vaccines given in the late 1960s, as reported on page 8 of the Merck MMR II package insert:
Routine administration of DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) and/or OPV (oral poliovirus vaccine) concurrently with measles, mumps and rubella vaccines is not recommended because there are limited data relating to the simultaneous administration of these antigens.
The CDC failed to take advantage of significant changes in vaccine formulation to justify testing of the schedule, even though these changes were specifically made due to serious safety concerns:
- when the combination MMR vaccine was introduced in 1971
- when the reactogenic smallpox vaccine was discontinued in 1972
- when the blood-derived hepatitis vaccine was discontinued in 1986
- when the acellular pertussis replaced the whole cell pertussis vaccine in 1997
- when the rhesus rotavirus vaccine was pulled from the market in 1999
- when inactivated polio replaced live poliovirus vaccine in 2000
And the CDC failed to conduct testing with the subsequent addition of many dozens of doses of nine additional vaccines added to the schedule: Hepatitis B, Hib, Varicella (chickenpox), Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, Pneumococcal (Prevnar 13), Influenza, Meningococcal, Human papillomavirus (Gardasil quadrivalent types 6, 11, 16, 18).
The infant vaccine schedule is one size fits all and the dosage does not vary. A baby born 15 weeks premature at 21 weeks gestation is given the same dosage as a postterm baby born 42 weeks or later, as per guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Parents may think that their newborns are just too fragile to be vaccinated because of low birth weight and possible health problems that came with their baby’s preterm birth. Your pediatrician will tell you that all of these babies should be given the routinely recommended childhood vaccinations. They should get every immunization on the standard schedule when they reach the ages at which these shots are normally given to all children.
We examine each of the vaccines recommended for infants from birth to 15 months of age, and the effects of each vaccine on the infant immune system. We present studies where infant immune response, side effects, vaccine efficacy, serotype replacement and duration of immunity are discussed. Studies discussing the effect of breastfeeding and maternal antibodies on the infant immune response are also presented.
The 2014 study below reveals that knowledge of vaccination’s effect on the infant immune system is severely lacking and argues “for an improved understanding of the immune responses of neonates, infants and young children to vaccine antigens.”
Challenges in Vaccination of Neonates, Infants and Young Children? (full text) Vaccine. 2014 Jun 30; 32(31): 3886–3894.
“Maternal antibody and poor generation of T-cell and B-cell memory in neonates and infants are known to result in inadequate adaptive immunity from vaccinating this population compared to older children and adults. Our group has recently identified a subset of infants and young children that fail to generate protective antibody levels to diphtheria (DT), tetanus (TT), pertussis (PT) toxoid, pertussis filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), and pertussis pertactin (PRN) in DTaP vaccinations, polio serotype 3, and Streptococcus pneumoniae conjugated polysaccharide 23F (Prevnar-CRM) and produce lower geometric mean titers to polio serotypes 1 and 2 and, Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 14.” … “Although challenging because of the age of the subjects, more studies to further understand immune dysfunction in neonates, infants and young children are needed. The quality and quantity of systemic and mucosal antibody and memory B-cell generation, adaptive CD4 T-cell vaccine-specific responses and memory recall, and APC – B-cell and CD4 T-cell interactions following recommended vaccinations needs to be more thoroughly characterized.”
Immune activation by aluminum adjuvants
The newborn immune system is not fully developed at birth. Immune system activation caused by vaccines and aluminum (contained in some infant vaccines) has been connected with brain injury and autism. In addition to the two studies below, see this series for further information about the effect of Immune Activation and Autism.