Vaccines DO NOT Suppress the Immune System
Dr. Jay L. Wile*
If a parent follows the suggested vaccination schedule1
, it might seem to the parent that the child is getting am inordinately
large number of shots. Many anti-vaccination advocates prey on the fact that most parents are
not informed enough to know what is "too much" when it comes to medicine, and they say that
this large number of vaccines "overwhelms" the baby's immune system. Of course, as is the case
with most assertions in the anti-vaccination camp, this assertion does not stand up to the
Probably the most direct study on this comes from Paul A. Offit and others2
. The data analyzed by these authors indicate the
1. Newborns are capable of mounting an immune response at birth
. This goes counter
to what some anti-vaccination advocates claim, but is nevertheless supported by the data. Of
course, any Christian should immediately realize that this is the case. God would certainly
design an immune system that was able to respond the moment a baby left the protection of his or
her mother's womb. Anything less would simply be shoddy workmanship!
2. Mild illness at the time of vaccination does not affect the level of antibodies produced by
. Many who are fooled by the anti-vaccination advocates don't even realize that
we can chemically measure a body's immune response to a vaccine (or to an infection) by
actually measuring the level of antibodies produced in the blood. These antibodies are so well-
characterized that we can actually determine which antibody fights which disease
though a child might be mildly sick (and thus his or her immune system is fighting off an
infection), the child's immune system makes the same level of antibodies in response to a
vaccine as it would if the child were not at all sick. This indicates that God's wonderfully
designed immune system is not easily "overwhelmed!"
3. When comparing children who are given just one vaccine to children who are given
several, there is no difference between the level of antibodies produced.
In other words,
multiple vaccines do not "fight" each other for attention from the immune system. Whether a
child gets one vaccination or several, the level of immune response is the same for each disease.
If multiple vaccines "overwhelmed" a child's immune system, you would see the immune
response for each disease decrease as the number of vaccinations increase. This is simply not the
Another important study comes from Otto and others3
. This study investigated 496 vaccinated and unvaccinated children,
comparing the health of the vaccinated children to that of the unvaccinated children. It found
that children who received immunizations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hib, and polio
within the first 3 months of life had fewer infections than those who did not. Surprisingly
enough, even the rates of infections unrelated to the vaccines were lower in the vaccinated group
than in the unvaccinated group. Now, if vaccines really did "overwhelm" these babies'
immune systems, we would see the vaccinated group have a higher rate of infections as
compared to the unvaccinated group. Instead, we see precisely the opposite, indicating that
vaccines do not
overwhelm an infant's immune system.
For more information on the safety of vaccines, see our article entitled Vaccines are Very Safe.
1. Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule
Return to Text
2. Paul A. Offit, et al. "Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Multiple
Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant's Immune System?" Pediatrics
Vol. 109 No.
1 2002; pp. 124-129 Return to Text
3. Otto S, et al. "General non-specific morbidity is reduced after
vaccination within the third month of life-the Greifswald study." J Infect.
2000; 41:172-175 Return to Text
Dr. Wile is not a medical doctor. He is a nuclear
chemist. As a result, he does not dispense medical advice. He simply educates the public about
scientific issues. Please consult a board-certified medical doctor before making any medical
decisions for yourself or your family. Return to Text