Baby, Misc.

A Myth of Baby Immunization Shots and The Immunization Chart for Babies

We’re finally on part 3 of our Baby Immunization Shots series. The first covered the fact that vaccines do not cause autism. The second covered the Sociological concept of moral scares and how it applies to vaccines. Now we’re going to look at some myths. We will end with the CDCs vaccine schedule.

We’re only going to focus on the most controversial issue here, herd immunity. For a more comprehensive list of vaccine myths, check out here or here. They’re not long reads. I recommend checking them out.

Is Herd Immunity a Myth

One argument in the anti-vaxxer community is that herd immunity is false in regards to vaccines. They say it works with natural immunity, but not with a vaccine, artificially induced immunity.

To break this down, we need to look at how vaccines work and what is herd immunity.

How Vaccines Work

Vaccines are made with parts of a real disease. But the disease is either weak or killed in the vaccine to allow the body to react but not catch the disease. It’s like setting up a rigged fight. The handicap is so great, the body is going to win.

The body gains experience during this fight and learns how to win similar fights in the future. In other words, it creates antibodies to attack similar pathogens that enter the body, aka the real disease.

The result is the body can fight off future contamination by the disease and usually win. Rarely, the disease does win over the antibodies.

What is Herd Immunity

Herd Immunity is the theory that if enough of a population contracts a disease and beats it, the rest of the community will be safe from contracting it due to lack of exposure.

The theory has been applied to vaccine immunity as well as natural immunity. Anti-vaxxers often do not believe that herd immunity is real with vaccine immunity because it is not natural.

What is not natural?

How the body catches the virus is not natural, but the body’s reaction still is. Vaccines inject a harmless dose of the disease to allow the body to make antibodies. When a body contracts a disease, it makes antibodies to provide immunity in the future.

The body has the same response to both scenarios. But vaccines don’t come with the risk of serious illness or death. For those who believe it does, check out the first ‘here’ link at the top of this page, myth #6.

Who Does Herd Immunity Help?

Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients in a vaccine and can’t get them or has an immune system too weak to receive it, like the elderly and young babies.

Cost Benefits

The Scandinavian Journal referenced below (starts with Kim) talks about the cost benefits of vaccines. The introduction of the quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine in the US saved $551 million in direct costs and $920 million in indirect costs.

The savings come from a lack of people needing to be hospitalized, suffering from permanent injury, or death due to contracting meningococcal. The article goes on to discuss the herd effects of several other common vaccines. Here’s one from another article.

A Case of Successful Herd Immunity

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (starts with Mast below) talks about the effectiveness of the RV vaccine and evidence of resulting herd immunity. The RV virus is the leading cause of infant inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestines.

When the RV vaccine was introduced, there was a substantial decrease in cases of RV. Before the RV vaccine was introduced, the virus caused the US over $1 billion yearly in direct and indirect costs from people contracting it.

Vaccines make a difference in the economics of a country along with overall health.

Keep reading past this section’s sources to learn about the scheduling of vaccines.

Vaccine Schedule

Another big item of contention is vaccine schedules. People are under the impression that we give babies too many vaccines at once. So they alter the vaccine schedule to give their child fewer shots at once and prolong the whole schedule.

I was going to go into myself, but the Children’s Hospital of Philadephia covered this subject far better than I ever could. So check out the link. It also has a two and a half video at the end to discuss the topic.

The CDCs schedule can be found right below these words. It’s linked directly to the CDC website. So when they update their site, this link is automatically updated.

When you’re done viewing the schedule (it can take a minute to load), leave a comment with your thoughts.

Read here for Part 1 and Part 2.

Sources: all have URLs that can be copied and pasted in your browser

Anon. n.d. “How Vaccines Work.” Vaccine Basics – How Vaccines Work. Retrieved November 8, 2018 (http://www.vaccineinformation.org/how-vaccines-work/).

Caceres, Marco. 2018. “Herd Immunity Theory Has Been Repeatedly Disproven.” The Vaccine Reaction. Retrieved November 8, 2018 (https://thevaccinereaction.org/2017/05/herd-immunity-theory-has-been-repeatedly-disproven/).

Fine, Paul, Ken Eames, and David Heymann. 2011. “‘Herd Immunity’: A Rough Guide.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 52(7):911–16. Retrieved November 8, 2018 (https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/52/7/911/299077).

Kim, Tae Hyong, Jennie Johnstone, and Mark Loeb. 2011. “Vaccine Herd Effect.” Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 43(9):683–89. Retrieved November 8, 2018 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3171704/)

Mast, Christopher, Florence Wang, Sue Su, and John Seeger. 2015. “Evidence of Herd Immunity and Sustained Impact of Rotavirus Vaccination on the Reduction of Rotavirus-Related Medical Encounters Among Infants from 2006 through 2011 in the United States.” The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 34(6):615–20. Retrieved November 8, 2018 (https://journals.lww.com/pidj/Fulltext/2015/06000/Evidence_of_Herd_Immunity_and_Sustained_Impact_of.17.aspx).

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Sharon May
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Sharon May

I am not a big fan of immunizations, but in saying that all my children were vacinated because what’s more evil the vaccine or the disease that could cause death? Everyone has their own thoughts regarding vaccines but there are some I disaprove of, these are the flu vaccines and the vaccines girls have in their teens. I think both of these are a hoax, but that’s my view. Your article gives a thorough breakdown and is a good guide for people to learn from. 

Kenny
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Kenny

Hi I can appreciate this post as I have a son of 5 and another if 17months. Both have been vaccinated and I will always argue the case for doing so inthe future with any parent. In my opinion there’s a reason why vaccinated countries have almost successfully eliminated certain diseases in children. Vaccinations work. Period. But I will concede that for those that are allergic to vaccines or cannot have them for whatever reason then there are some other valid points in your post. 

Overall a great read and thanks again for writing it. Kenny 

Renton
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Renton

This is great. When you actually understand what vaccines do (like you have clearly said) you will understand that it is your duty as a parent to vaccinate your children. It is literally teaching your child’s body how to fight off a disease or illness, and last time I checked that is exactly what parents do, teach and protect their children (the good ones anyways). I have never heard or Herd immunity before but it sounds quite interesting. I think that it is great to try and raise your baby as naturally as possible, but it is also good to… Read more »

Sylvia
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Sylvia

The topic, or Myth, of early years vaccination is a very good article showing off all the information around the topic and I like it. I am originally from Europe and, due to family members, I be still informed  in how things are going over-there. The necessary of immunization has grown more in the last 2-3 decades since the world has “shrunk”, meaning, flying from one continent to another, has become as normal as driving to work. Therefore, certain diseases can travel with it The need of certain vaccines is, for me, out of the question, because it will help… Read more »

Mary Ann
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Mary Ann

Hello Nicole. Thank you for a very interesting article. I have to say, as a grandmother now, I am so glad that I wasn’t faced with all these concerns with my daughter while she was growing up. She had all the vaccines recommended both by her doctor and the schools she attended. And the schedule for these vaccinations was very rigid. I wonder what her thoughts are on this subject as she has two toddlers. I think she would be interested in this information. I had not heard 🙂 the term Herd Immunity but it definitely makes sense. Thank you… Read more »

Stephen
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Stephen

You’re definitely right Nicole, I surely agree with you that Vaccines do work very well. I think the practice of immunization should be something that every country should carefully consider. Since taking vaccines to immune the body helps to prepare the body in fight against any future attacks. Here in my country, Ghana, the government often make such arrangement for all who qualify according to their age to take part in this immunization practice. And I think it really saves the lives of most of us since it helps our body to strengthen it defenses against any future attacks. I also… Read more »

Nicki V
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Nicki V

I love finally reading a pro-vax article!! I have this argument all the time with anti-vaxers who claim everything under the sun about why vaccines are so terrible and how all of these diseases that we are trying to prevent, aren’t even around anymore.  Which, is a terrible argument because the reason a lot of these viruses are no longer around is because they’ve died off from their hosts being vaccinated!! I really don’t understand the whole anti-vax theory when there are literally millions of people around the world who would KILL to have the chance to have vaccines to… Read more »

Olonisakin Kehinde
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Olonisakin Kehinde

I’d like to talk a bit on here inmmunity.  Yes in some populations,  herd immunity works,  in fact it occurs often but,  the immunity isn’t for ever.  It kind of separating some sets of individuals who by way of their body physiology or probably genetics become resistant.  But this cannot always be the case, so,  the ultimate prevention…. Immunisation,  is still the way out.

Leo
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Leo

I have an 8-months old baby. Till now, I have respected the vaccination schedule and done all the vaccines to my baby. For a bit, had the dilemma if it was better not to vaccine my child, as I was afraid it may cause autism. Even if I know that it is not proven scientifically that vaccines cause autism, many different stories confused me.  What’s the best for my child? For sure vaccines do more good than bad. I could never forgive my self if any of those horrible diseases infect my child in the future and his body is… Read more »

Alexander
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Alexander

I don’t believe the idea that ‘vaccines don’t cause autism’ can be established as a fact until it is discovered what does cause autism and why is it increasing at alarming rates. Well, we don’t know what causes autism but it isn’t vaccines or Thimerosal seems pretty weak and until the cause of autism is discovered people will continue to suspect vaccines and Thimerosal. Herd Immunity looks like an easy to debunk myth.

Josh
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Josh

It’s definitely scary when trying to protect your baby, especially as a new parent in general you want to take the best care possible. I’ve always been on the fence if it’s good to load a baby up on vaccines but I generally lean towards it being better safe than sorry. I understand where the herd immunity belief is coming from though as it makes sense. Like I just stated though vaccines in my opinion are a better option because they tend to be harmless (though I have know of some people that have gotten sick from them). I personally… Read more »

Chris
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Chris

Vaccinations work, they certainly are not just there ‘just in case’. I live in the UK and all the vaccinations for my children have been free (my youngest is now 4 and recently had his last for a few years). 

Sure – it’s not nice seeing them distressed when they get a needle in their leg suddenly, but it’s a necessary precaution. 

I was surprised to read that there are some people that have certain allergies to these shots – I certainly wasn’t aware of this. How common is this among children?

Sukumar Thingom
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Sukumar Thingom

The baby immunization schedule is different for different countries. The schedule as provided by the National Health Mission of India is different from the CDC chart shown in your article. As a parent, there were times when I wondered if all the shots were indeed necessary but I cannot think of giving these shots a miss for my child. One concern is about the cold chain to be maintained for certain vaccines during storage and transportation. I’m always concerned whether the healthcare providers maintain the required cold chain properly or not. Your reference to the cost benefits of vaccines is… Read more »

Mahmood
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Mahmood

Thanks for your thorough presentation for herd immunization.  I’m very concerned about what to believe these days, especially when it comes to my kids health. Today’s medical report are somewhat controversial in their approach. Each day they present a new theory on how to cure a certain topic. Often times the new theory that is currently believed is the solution breaks an old theory that once believed to be the solution for the same case several years ago.  It got much worse with the internet as more people daily post their own opinions on health topics. However, I trust that… Read more »