What Is the Harm in Delaying or Spacing out Vaccines?

>>Hi, my name’s Paul Offit. I’m talking to
you today from the Vaccine Education Center here at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Probably the most common question that we get asked in our Center, “Is it OK to delay,
or withhold, or separate, or space out vaccines?” Or said in other ways, “Is it OK to use kind
of an alternative vaccine schedule?” One where children aren’t vaccinated with as many vaccines
in the first couple years of life. The answer to that question is no, it’s not
OK to do that for a couple of reasons. One, there has been extensive testing using so-called
concomitant use studies showing that when a new vaccine is added to the schedule that
it doesn’t interfere with the immunogenicity profile, or the safety profile of existing
vaccines, and vice versa — that existing vaccines don’t interfere with the safety profile
or the immunogenicity profile of existing vaccines. So the schedule as it’s currently recommended
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics is
well tested. To make up another schedule is to essentially use an untested schedule. Secondly, there is no advantage to delaying
vaccines. All that does is increase the period of time during which children are susceptible
to these viral or bacterial infections with no benefits. Although it may feel better,
I think more for the parent than the child, to delay vaccines, it really doesn’t help
the child. I think the third point is, and parents could
reasonably argue, that when you get four or five shots at once, that that’s far more stress
provoking than say if a child got one or two shots. That’s actually been studied. The way
the physiologist measure stress is looking at cortisol secretion by the adrenal glands
as a measure of stress if you will. And you’re actually no more stressed out when you get
multiple vaccines than when you get a single vaccine. Which is to say you’re pretty much
maximally stressed out as one shot, just after one shot. So to bring a child back more frequently,
or even worse, to sort of delay vaccines until they’re older, is only, frankly, to increase
the stress associated with vaccination. So there is no benefit to delaying, or separating,
or spacing out, or withholding vaccines. Children are best served by giving them a schedule
as recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hope that helps, thanks.

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