Does Early Vaccine Exposure Increase Infection Risk?

Young children who are exposed to multiple vaccines during early childhood do not have an increased risk for other non-vaccine-targeted infections, according to new study findings.

From January 1, 2003, to September 31, 2013, the researchers evaluated data on 944 children aged 24 to 47 months in 6 US health care organizations. Follow-up lasted until December 31, 2015.

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Cases of non-vaccine-targeted infection (n = 193) were matched with controls (n = 751) based on age, sex, and other factors. Cumulative vaccine antigen exposure was estimated by summing the number of antigens in each vaccine dose received from birth through age 23 months.

Findings indicated that the estimated mean cumulative vaccine antigen exposure was 240.6 for cases compared with 242.9 for controls, with a between-group difference for estimated cumulative antigen exposure of -2.3.

The matched odds ratio (0.94) was not found to be significant among participants with non-vaccine-targeted infections vs those without such infections from 24 through 47 months of age.

“Among children from 24 through 47 months of age with emergency department and inpatient visits for infectious diseases not targeted by vaccines, compared with children without such visits, there was no significant difference in estimated cumulative vaccine antigen exposure through the first 23 months of life,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


Glanz JM, Newcomer SR, Daley MF, et al. Association between estimated cumulative vaccine antigen exposure through the first 23 months of life and non-vaccine-targeted infections from 24 through 27 months of age. JAMA. 2018; 319(9):906-913. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0708.