Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Doctor answers your questions about vaccines

Why do babies get combination shots? Why do they get their first shot so young? Why don't we just slow down the vaccination schedule?

Parents asked a doctor who specializes in vaccines to answer some of their questions as part of a package of stories about parents' fears surrounding vaccines and autism. Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group, answered. Poland helps set national vaccine policy as a liaison member of the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Several parents asked: Why can't children get combination shots separated, or get shots on a slower schedule?

There is no evidence of either safety or efficacy by separating all the vaccine doses. … There is evidence of both safety and efficacy if vaccines are used in the manner they were studied. … There is no credible evidence supporting fears of "overloading" a child's immune system by vaccines, or in somehow causing developmental disorders. … Recent outbreaks of diseases like measles have led to severe illness and even death among unimmunized infants and children. The longer the schedule is spread out, the greater the risk of exposure while susceptible.

Do children need the hepatitis B vaccine at such an early age? My daughter was offered the vaccine for her newborn.

Up to 50 percent of women who are hepatitis B carriers remain unidentified at the time they give birth — thereby transmitting it to their infants. The younger you are when infected, the higher the risk of becoming a chronic carrier.

Why can't babies get one vaccine instead of three or four every time they go to a doctor?

Combining immunizations is easier and safer (fewer injections) for the baby, while ensuring high rates of coverage. Increasing the number of visits increases costs and means babies would miss more shots.

Why is it unsafe to vaccinate a baby before 2 months but at 2 months and one day it is determined safe?

It is not a question of safety, but rather a measure of immune system function and the likelihood of developing a protective response for a given vaccine type.

It is my understanding that in order to maintain immunity from a vaccination, you must repeat it every five to seven years. Is there a vaccine schedule through adulthood?

There is. … The interval for repeat doses is different for each vaccine. (To see the adult vaccine schedule, go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines.)

I am 83 years old. I have had three attacks of shingles in the last five years. Should I get the measles vaccine?

There is unlikely to be a need for you to have the measles vaccine. You should consider talking with your physician about the shingles (zoster) vaccine.

Doctor answers your questions about vaccines 11/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 28, 2008 5:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bill Clinton coming to Miami Beach on Saturday for mayors' convention

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Miami Herald:

    Former President Bill Clinton gives the opening address to kick off a meeting of International Aid Groups at the InterAction Forum 2017 at the Washington Convention Center on June 20.
  2. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

    National

    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  3. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]
  4. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.