I'm concerned about my newborn's vaccination schedule. Why do infants need so many vaccines so quickly?
Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
Newborns are scheduled to get vaccines right away because these medicines help protect against serious diseases. These diseases can harm babies or lead to death.
Most babies are born with an immune system ready to keep out germs. For about three months after birth, babies may get some protection from diseases their birth mother was immune to, or from their birth mother's vaccines.
But vaccination makes sure a baby has as much protection as is safely possible against diseases that could overwhelm the immune system or cause serious complications. Vaccination also helps prevent babies and children from spreading infections to others.
A vaccine gets the body ready to get rid of something that doesn't belong. That means during an infection, the bacteria or virus will be stopped before it has a chance to cause damage.
The vaccine schedule covers common and dangerous infections. It's designed to protect babies when their immune system is ready. And it's designed to protect babies before they come into contact with the real infection. Newborns and young children can be exposed to diseases from family members, caregivers, and other close contacts. And they can be exposed to diseases during routine trips, such as visits to the grocery store.
Talk to your child's health care provider if you're worried about the vaccine schedule. Getting vaccinated on schedule provides the best protection against illness. The vaccine schedule has been studied for decades. For this reason, unless your child's health care provider tells you something different for your child, it's the safest schedule.
Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
Oct. 11, 2022
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See more Expert Answers
- Making the vaccine decision: Addressing common concerns. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html. Accessed Oct. 5, 2022.
- How vaccines strengthen your baby's immune system. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/strengthen-baby-immune.html. Accessed Oct. 05, 2022.
- Tosi, MF. Normal and impaired immunologic responses to infection. In: Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 05, 2022.
- Kroger AT, et al. Active immunization. In: Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 6th edition. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 05, 2022.
- Timing and spacing of immunobiologics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/timing.html. Accessed Oct. 05, 2022.