Why so many vaccines for babies?

The idea that too many vaccines overwhelm a baby's immune system sounds logical, but it is an urban legend. No evidence supports this belief, which gained popularity at a time when autism rates and the number of baby vaccines had both risen. But of course, coincidental timing does not prove cause! 

Baby Vaccines: Then vs. Now

While babies do get more vaccines today, they actually don't have more "stuff" injected into their bodies. In 1980, the DPT shot was a blenderized bacteria soup of around 1,000 different illness particles or antigens. And, the polio vaccine babies used to get was a live virus that actually triggered a minute case of the disease to prevent a more serious one. 

Today, newborn vaccines are way, way more purified. The current DPT vaccine contains only three bacterial antigens and the polio vaccine no longer includes any live virus. These advances create a win-win situation: Vaccines guard kids against many more illnesses AND even though the number of vaccines has increased, the number of illness particles being injected into their bodies…is lower than ever before!

What vaccines are given to newborns?

The following vaccines are recommended for babies at birth: 

  • Hepatitis B (First Dose)

These newborn vaccines are recommended for babies at 1-2 months old:

  • Hepatitis B (2nd dose)
  • DTaP (first dose)
  • HiB (first dose)
  • Polio (first dose)
  • PCV13 (first dose)
  • RV (first dose)

At 4 months, a baby should receive the following newborn vaccines:

  • DTaP (second dose)
  • HiB (second dose)
  • Polio (second dose)
  • PCV13 (second dose)
  • RV (second dose)

For a complete list of recommended vaccines by age, take a look at our Immunization Guide and Vaccine Schedule

What about a COVID 19 vaccine for babies?

The COVID vaccine isn't on the official vaccine schedule for children yet, but it has been authorized by the CDC and FDA and is recommended for all children 6 months and older by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Learn more about the COVID vaccine for babies and kids

How many newborn vaccines can a baby's body handle?

I often hear, “how many vaccines can my baby get at once?” Some parents worry that a baby can't handle several vaccines given at once. That's hardly the case. The immune system is a superb, multitasking, fighting machine! Every day thousands of threats strike at our little ones: from bacterial invaders to swarms of viruses to offending dietary proteins, damaged cells, irritating pollen, and even tiny cancers. The ability to thwart many mild attacks concurrently—including tolerating multiple vaccinations—is exactly what the immune system was built to do.

In fact, a new theory suggests that allergies and asthma may be on the rise in part because we’ve made the world TOO clean. It makes sense if you think about it. Early “exercise” helps a baby's immune system achieve tip-top fighting condition!

More on keeping your baby healthy:

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.