The charity started by Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumper and which has Dr Offit on both its Executive Board and Scientific Advisory Board continue to attack me for allegedly misrepresenting his views on vaccination overload. The explanation by resident “expert” Joel Harrison is that I am being naïve in my understanding of Dr Offit’s claim about 10,000 vaccines. Unfortunately, it was not me who made the extravagant and wild claims claims and this is very easy to document. So, it is very interesting if ECBT are now ashamed of them. For instance in 2005 Dr Offit’s institution Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, alarmingly known as CHOP proudly reproduced a feature from the magazine Babytalk in which the following Q&A appears:
Myth1: Getting so many vaccines will overwhelm my child's immune system
No doubt about it, the immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) can seem daunting. Your child can receive up to 23 shots by the time she's 2 years old and as many as six shots at a singledoctor visit. So it's not surprising that many parents have concerns about how vaccines might affect a child's developing immunity and often cite these as a reason to refuse a vaccine.
But it should be the least of your worries. "Children have an enormous capacity to respond safely to challenges to the immune system from vaccines," says Dr. Offit. "A baby's body is bombarded with immunologic challenges - from bacteria in food to the dust they breathe. Compared to what they typically encounter and manage during the day, vaccines are literally a drop in the ocean." In fact, Dr. Offit's studies show that in theory, healthy infants could safely get up to 100,000 vaccines at once.
The bottom line: It's safe to give your child simultaneous vaccines or vaccine combinations, such as the five-in-one vaccine called Pediarix, which protects against hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). Equally important, vaccines are as effective given in combination as they are given individually.
In a lecture from 2008 on youtube Dr Offit states:
I think conservatively, one could say that, based on their caveats, that one could probably respond to about 100,000 different vaccines at one time."... "I would say you probably could get 100,000 vaccines every day.
Dr Offit’s claims which originate in an article in PEDIATRICS in 2002 were immediately take up by the United Kingdom Department of Health and National Health Service. A leaflet from the MMR the Facts website from 2002 reads:
What about giving three live vaccines at once – it overloads the immune system? A baby’s immune system has an enormous capacity to fight the thousands of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that it is bombarded with every day. A study from America shows quite clearly that even babies who are poorly can still produce protective immune responses to vaccines. This study also shows that a baby could, in theory, respond to around 10,000 vaccines at any one time. If, for example, 11 vaccines were given to a baby at one time, this might only use about a thousandth of the immune system. In providing protection vaccines prevent ‘weakening’ of the immune system.
In July 2004 I reported in a letter to BMJ Rapid Responses:
In an NHS leaflet …Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer is asked: "Does MMR overload young bodies?" to which he replies: "Again, all the evidence refutes this. In fact, a child's immune system is designed to cope with many different viruses at the same time, so a combined vaccine is a natural choice.