Q: Is it bad for a baby to get more than one vaccination on the same day? My doctor wants to give my daughter several at once, so I don't have to make so many appointments but I'm worried it won't be good for her. I'd like your opinion.
A: Many, many careful studies have been done on giving vaccines together. They show that it is both safe and practical to give several different vaccines on the same day.
When the studies were done the researchers looked carefully at both the side effects of the vaccines (like fever and soreness) and at the body's response to each vaccine, even if several are given on the same day.
It is the antibody that keeps the baby from getting the disease the vaccine is designed to prevent.
Giving several vaccines on the same day does help to conserve your time and energy by decreasing the number of visits to the doctor. The most important reason for giving the vaccines together, however, is to assure that your baby is protected against these important diseases as soon as possible.
Many of the diseases against which we vaccinate are likely to occur in infancy or are particularly severe during the first few years of life. If the immunization schedule did not allow for several vaccines to be given together, it would take a longer time to protect your daughter against the severe diseases vaccination can eliminate.
Dr. Wilson is director of general pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Dr. Joffe is director of adolescent medicine.