I'm concerned about my newborn's vaccination schedule. Why do infants need so many vaccines so quickly?

Answers from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.

Newborns need multiple vaccines because infectious diseases can cause more-serious problems in infants than in older children.

While maternal antibodies help protect newborns from many diseases, this immunity begins to disappear as quickly as one month after birth. In addition, children don't receive maternal immunity from certain diseases, such as whooping cough. If a child isn't vaccinated and is exposed to a disease, he or she might become sick and spread the illness.

Avoid altering your child's recommended vaccination schedule. Research shows that it's safe for infants and young children to receive multiple vaccines at the same time, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccination schedule.

Remember, newborns and young children can be exposed to diseases from family members, care providers and other close contacts, as well as during routine outings — such as trips to the grocery store. Many vaccines can be given even if your child has a mild illness, such as a cold, earache or mild fever. Consult your child's doctor regularly to keep your child's vaccination status up to date.

Aug. 06, 2013