Tuesday 6 December 2016

Experts address vaccine fears

Published 12/01/2016 | 02:30

Studies have shown that vaccines do not weaken a child's immune system
Studies have shown that vaccines do not weaken a child's immune system

The HSE is this year planning to give children the new meningitis B vaccine and another jab to protect against the rotavirus, a common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea.

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Parents may be naturally worried about vaccine overload - but does it actually exist?

Vaccines work by stimulating our immune system to produce antibodies, (substances produced by the body to fight disease), without actually infecting us with the disease.

They trigger the immune system to produce its own antibodies, as though the body has been infected with a disease. This is called "active immunity". If the vaccinated person then comes into contact with the disease itself, their immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies they need to fight it.

Experts say there is no need to be concerned that a child is getting vaccine "overload." Studies have shown that vaccines do not weaken a child's immune system.

As soon as a baby is born, they come into contact with a huge number of different bacteria and viruses every day, and their immune system copes well with them.

The bacteria and viruses used in vaccines are weakened or killed.

If a child was given 11 vaccines all at the same time, it would only use a thousandth of their immune system. Some vaccines, like the MMR, have high levels of protection.

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