Vaccines Only Strengthen the Immune System in Children

March 7, 2011

Parents, who may have been concerned by the assertions in the media that vaccinating their children can stress their immune systems and actually make them more likely to get sick, can rest assured this is not the case. A newly published study concludes that this is not the case. While vaccinated children were much less likely to get the disease to which they were vaccinated against than unvaccinated children, there was no difference in the frequency of other, milder illness such as colds and bronchitis.

May vaccinations put too much strain on or weaken children’s immune systems and are therefore harmful? Roma Schmitz and her colleagues from the Robert Koch Institute investigate exactly this research question in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108(7): 105-11). Their data are based on the results of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS).

In their study, the authors compare the occurrence of infections and allergies in vaccinated and unvaccinated children and adolescents. These include bronchitis, eczema, colds, and gastrointestinal infections.

The evaluation showed that unvaccinated children and adolescents differ from their vaccinated peers merely in terms of the frequency of vaccine preventable diseases. These include pertussis, mumps, or measles. As expected, the risk of contracting these diseases is substantially lower in vaccinated children and adolescents.

Reference: Deutches Aerzteblatt International

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