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Childhood Vaccine Schedule: Where is the Science?

vaccine scheduleStory Highlights
  • The current federally recommended childhood vaccine schedule directs doctors to give infants and children 49 doses of 14 vaccines before age six.
  • CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics officials insist that the childhood vaccine schedule is safe.
  • A 2013 Institute of Medicine report clearly states that the vaccine schedule for children under age six has not been adequately tested for safety.

Americans have been carefully taught to fully trust the recommendations made by medical doctors and public health officials, and many do trust without questioning. After all, we expect and want to believe that the recommendations being made by the “medical experts” are evidence-based and thoroughly tested for safety.

In the case of the childhood vaccine schedule recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the general assumption is that the safety of giving infants and children 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age six has been thoroughly researched and proven safe. Many parents (and perhaps many pediatricians) would be surprised to learn there are a number of important unanswered questions about the number of vaccines, timing, the order and the ages at which recommended vaccines are given to babies and young children.

The Childhood Vaccine Schedule Designed by CDC

The CDC sets the childhood vaccine schedule based on the recommendations from a small group of medical doctors appointed by the CDC to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The AAP and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) also evaluate and routinely endorse the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule.1 

According to the CDC, before a vaccine is officially included in the schedule, the ACIP reviews the evidence for safety and effectiveness for each vaccine when given to infants and children at specific ages, the severity of the disease and how many children would get the disease if there was no vaccine, and also how well the vaccine works for children of various ages.1 

The CDC currently recommends that multiple doses of vaccines be given to all children under age six on a specific schedule to prevent 14 potentially serious infectious diseases.1 Regarding use of “alternative” vaccine schedules to delay or give fewer vaccines on one day, the CDC states:

Infants and young children who follow immunization schedules that spread out shots—or leave out shots—are at risk of developing diseases during the time that shots are delayed. Following the recommended immunization schedule protects infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.1 

The AAP leadership has strongly endorsed the CDC’s position opposing use of alternative vaccine schedules and notes:

The recommended schedule is designed to work best with a child’s immune system at certain ages and at specific times. There is no research to show that a child would be equally protected against diseases with a very different schedule. Also, there is no scientific reason why spreading out the shots would be safer. But we do know that any length of time without immunizations is a time without protection.2 

According to the AAP, each vaccine dose is scheduled at certain times based on two factors – the age at which the body’s immune system will work the best and the need to provide protection to children as early as possible.2 

Addressing parental concerns that too many vaccines are being given together too soon and too often, which can compromise immune and brain function, both CDC and AAP officials insist that vaccines are well studied to make sure it is safe for an infant or young child to be given dozens of doses of vaccines throughout childhood and six to 10 different vaccines at once.3  CDC officials maintain there is scientific data proving there is no danger in giving a baby multiple vaccines simultaneously and the practice does not cause any chronic health problems. The CDC website states:4

When every new vaccine is licensed, it has been tested along with the vaccines already recommended for a particular aged child.4 

The Childhood Vaccine Schedule Not Adequately Tested

However, a report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2013, The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies, contradicts the firm position that the CDC, AAP and AAFP hold with respect to the safety of the schedule.5 In response to continuing public questions and concerns, the report was published after an IOM committee conducted a comprehensive review of the medical literature to identify studies related to the safety of the recommended vaccine schedule for infants and children under six years old.5 

The IOM Committee was only able to identify fewer than 40 scientific studies published since 2003 and clearly stated in the report that there are significant gaps in scientific knowledge about the safety of the early childhood vaccine schedule:

First, the concept of the immunization “schedule” is not well developed in the scientific literature. Most vaccine research focuses on the health outcomes associated with single immunizations or combinations of vaccines administered at a single visit. Even though each new vaccine is evaluated in the context of the overall immunization schedule that existed at the time of review, individual elements of the schedule are not evaluated once it is adjusted to accommodate a new vaccine. Key elements of the immunization schedule—for example, the number, frequency, timing, order, and age at the time of administration of vaccines—have not been systematically examined in research studies.5 

Is the Child Vaccine Schedule Associated with Chronic Disease and Brain Disorders?

Frequently citing a lack of enough quality scientific studies, the IOM committee was unable to determine whether the numbers of doses and timing of CDC recommended vaccines children receive in the first six years of life are—or are not—associated with health problems in premature infants or the development of chronic brain and immune system disorders in children, including asthma, atopy, allergy, autoimmunity, autism, learning disorders, communication disorders, developmental disorders, intellectual disability, attention deficit disorder, disruptive behavior disorder,  tics and Tourette’s syndrome, seizures, febrile seizures and epilepsy.

The IOM Committee also discovered that there is very limited information about subpopulations of vulnerable children, who may be biologically at greater risk for suffering vaccine injury and death.

The committee found that evidence assessing outcomes in subpopulations of children, who may be potentially susceptible to adverse reactions to vaccines (such as children with a family history of autoimmune disease or allergies or children born prematurely), is limited and is characterized by uncertainty about the definition of populations of interest and definition of exposures or outcomes.

Additionally, the IOM report acknowledged that vaccine safety is not a high enough priority for federal health officials making vaccine use recommendations and goes on to say:

The childhood immunization schedule may become more complex over time as scientific advances are made and new vaccines are developed. Feasible research approaches to study potential adverse health outcomes will emerge only with a sustained and substantial federal commitment to research on vaccine safety.5 

When the IOM report was released in 2013, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) issued a statement calling for transparency, independence and replication in future research to assess the safety of federal vaccine policies, including evaluating health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children and those using alternative vaccine schedules.6 NVIC also pointed out that there have been no studies comparing the differences in health outcomes between entirely unvaccinated populations of children and those receiving all government recommended vaccines on schedule.

Where is the Science?

Parents have good reason to question the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule when there is so little scientific evidence demonstrating safety being provided to the public. The lack of core science to support expansion of the childhood vaccine schedule is concerning because many states are in the process of mandating every CDC recommended vaccine for daycare and school attendance. If credible scientific studies and systematic reviews proving the long term safety of giving children 49 doses of 14 vaccines before age six do in fact exist, the CDC should make them immediately available to the public.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Childhood Immunization Schedule: Questions and Answers. CDC.gov February 2013.
American Academy of Pediatrics. The Childhood Immunization Schedule: Why Is It Like That? AAP.org October 2008.
3 AAP. Immunization: Common Parental Concerns. AAP.org August 2016.
4 CDC. Multiple Vaccines and the Immune System. CDC.gov Oct. 27, 2015.
5 Institute of Medicine. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future StudiesThe National Academies Press 2013. 
6 National Vaccine Information Center. National Vaccine Information Center Supports Three of Five Recommendations of New IOM Report on U.S. Childhood Immunization Schedule Safety and Calls for Transparency. BusinessWire Press Release Jan. 16, 2013.

16 Responses to Childhood Vaccine Schedule: Where is the Science?

  1. David S Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    It’s amazing how naive the public is when it comes to vaccines and really anything medical. They believe all they are told by their MDs, media, news, etc. Is it really that hard to believe there may be an agenda behind everything that is not in the best interest of their health? Wake up people.

    • Janna Price Reply

      October 13, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      I know, right? You don’t even have to be a crazy conspiracy theorist! All you have to do is recognize that people are greedy. Is it that far-fetched to say that the vaccine companies are more interested in profit than in benefiting humanity? Is it that far-fetched to say that giant corporate interests line the pockets of our representatives, buying their votes?

  2. Diana Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    My concern is if you give so many vaccines in one visit how do you know which one causes an adverse reaction when there is one. What is the harm to spread them out? $$$$. I was told that they gave them all at once because the parent might not bring the kid back so fequently. Patient compliance and guarranteed income.

    • Kimberly Reply

      October 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I was told the same thing by a few nurses at the injection clinic when I went.
      Fewer parents were taking their children to get “up to date”. When that was noticed, they decided to get the children up to date with 6,7,8 vaccines all at one visit because they may not be brought back. It’s ridiculous! No one can tell which caused an adverse reaction if that many are done. Another thing is pediatric doctors always say introduce one food at a time but they think a boat load of vaccines at one visit makes sense.

      • Janna Reply

        October 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        That is such a good point! I had never thought of the correlation between introducing foods slowly to children and the ridiculous vaccine schedule!

  3. Num Guy Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Why do we have twice the number of childhood vaccines compared to say Japan or Sweden?!!! Absolutely no reason at all other than MONEY for BIG PHARMA…

    This medical tyranny will continue and continue to get worse unless Big Pharma is stripped of its immunity!!

    Our corrupt Congress gave them immunity in 1986 against all lawsuits even if event of death resulting from a vaccine. That is 30 years of immunity!! During this time the number of vaccines has increased tremendously.

    The only way to stop from becoming a police state is to repeal this immunity. Please google “Repeal Immunity for Drug Companies Against Vaccine Injuries” and sign the petition on moveon.

    Please sign and share with friends and family and make a difference.

    Thank you.

  4. Stephen J Sanborn Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    49 doses of 14 vaccines before age 6 ? Are they insane? Are we ?

  5. apv Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    It’s evidence based medicine when they like the evidence. Otherwise, it’s eminence based medicine.

    • Igor Bondarenko Reply

      October 9, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Another nice term coined by Swedish researchers in 2003 is “evidence b(i)ased medicine”. Nothing has changed since 2003, though.

  6. Sandy Manning Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    It is my understanding that no drug trials can be done on minors. I’m assuming the same is true for a vaccine. So they cannot say a drug/vaccine is safe until it is in use. Wasn’t this the case for Garasill? The first to get them become the test cases? There have never been trials for all of the combinations of vaccines before it became the schedule either.

    • Lori Harvey Reply

      October 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Vaccines go thru different testing than other drugs. In other words, they have a different standard.

      Our kids are guinea pigs for big pharma.

  7. Donna Reply

    October 6, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I don’t believe there is any science at all that proves that vaccines do no harm PERIOD and even if there was, it makes NO sense whatever to vaccinate using all kinds of stuff – including genetically modified/engineered stuff, humans have survived for centuries without vaccines – Forrest Maready has his Incredible Opinion and he is spot on with his messages about the idiocy of vaccines and how the populace is so ignorant of what they are allowing the CDC and the other “prestigious” entities to get away with.

  8. Cary Reply

    October 7, 2016 at 1:01 am

    The CDC never will. Big pharma has the government officials and the CDC on their payroll. Mandating vaccines is the only way to keep their money guaranteed in the future where new evidence is proving the unsafeness of the additives in vaccines.

  9. J.Russell Lemon Reply

    October 7, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Sometimes I think that the enhanced vaccine schedule is so the sterilization adjuvant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work. Here in California, it seems that all vaccines containing this adjuvant are mandatory for all children. Part of UN agenda 21/30 program of depopulation?

  10. Mia Gafner Reply

    October 7, 2016 at 10:08 am

    When I read that 3 Billion in damages has been paid out for vaccine related injuries since 1989, it blows my mind that this is not at the center of the vaccine controversy in any discussion or argument by the medical establishment. What happened to do no harm? http://www.thedailysheeple.com/government-has-paid-out-3-billion-to-vaccine-injured-americans-since-1989_022015
    I also read that Doctors who push these vaccines on our kids and population get less than two pages of medical training on vaccines while in medical school. And, we are supposed to merrily let the needles get stuck into our precious little ones?
    Definitely going to move on.org for that petition signing. And, I do believe we are the Guinea pigs in this so called safety research that they say they have done. 🙄

  11. Vivian Reply

    October 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    This is a world wide problem. Just got back from visiting family in Australia. Australian health minister trying to ban the movie “Vaxxed” claiming it is unnecessary for “uninformed” people to be given access to this “dangerous film” and that “every time
    Vaccination levels drop by 1 – 2% we get outbreaks of dangerous disease”. What garbage! The kids in Australia are just as affected by vaccines. Since the schedule expanded expodentially 20 years ago the children are, like all kids worldwide, very sickly little creatures. It used to be that a child needed to be escaped to a specialist if they saw their GP more than six times a year – now it is an incredible 24 times a year. Yes, it’s considered “normal” for a kid to need a doctor every two weeks. Someone is having us on. Australian Government, in direct contravention of the constitution which states “no citizen can be coherced financially to accept medical treatment for themselves or their children against their will” has now introduced the “No Jab, No Pay” – withholding child payments, family benefits and Medicare rebates unless the parent agrees to vaccination. Of course, we always do “informed consent” the doctors say! Don’t make me laugh.

    We live in South Africa and in the middle class population here it is just as bad. We decided not to vaccinate our second child after doing eons of research and becoming mortified by the scale of the claims and finding this term “vaccine injury” and realising how prevalent this is. Don’t know why we didn’t connect the dots before. We were brainwashed too. Now I think of it we know personally parents whose kids have had twisted bowel, kids with major autisms ( two of these parents told us they were convinced it was vaccines, nieces and nephews getting chicken pox, mumps and measles (horrible versions of them – much worse than I remember getting as a kid) and they are fully vaccinated. We have three big remedial schools in our small district, a full on centre for classically autistic kids (absolutely jam packed with kids) and every primary school has had to start offering a remedial section to cater for the kids who are at regular school but can’t manage. Of course the parents all say “lucky how the doctors and teachers can spot things going wrong early now and save a kid a lot of hassle later” meanwhile I am thinking “are you blind???” My mother in laws favourite expression is ” there is none so blind as those who will not see” and I believe that applies to parents, teachers and most definitely the medical profession.

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