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Author Topic: Can vaccines be given together?  (Read 7558 times)

Steve Junk

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Can vaccines be given together?
« on: 02/10/2009 12:30:05 »
Steve Junk  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Dr. Chris,

I listen to your podcast on my long commute.  My question is, How many vaccines may be given to a patient at one time? Are there certain combinations that may be particularly problematic?

Someone I know just received four vaccine injections in one office visit.  All is well, but it "begs the question".  Can the immune system become "preoccupied" or otherwise degraded as a result of work it is doing "computing" or manufacturing an antibody for one pathogen, such that countermeasures against a second, third or fourth pathogen may produce ineffective antibodies or even decremental effects? 

Does the name cold sores imply this effect?  Having the HLA-b27 gene, and having gone through a bout with reactive arthritis triggered by C. jejuni, I know our immune system can be a powerful adversary as well as an essential guardian.  Can the immune system be overwhelmed by the diversity and numbers of pathogens - has a limit been identified?

P.S. What's Dr. Karl really like?

Steve
Irvine California

What do you think?


 

Offline chris

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Can vaccines be given together?
« Reply #1 on: 03/10/2009 11:31:40 »
Hi Steve

The evidence is that the body can respond to more than one vaccine at once but they should be given simultaneously and not when a person is already suffering from another infection.

This is because when the immune system responds to a foreign agent, including an infection or a vaccine, it produces signalling hormones called interferons. This place cells all around the body into an antiviral state whereby they degrade genetic signals that appear to be foreign and also upregulate cell surface markers that indicate viral infection.

Therefore, if you administer a new vaccine once cells have already been primed in this way, the vaccine - particularly if it's a live vaccine like MMR, chickenpox, yellow fever - might struggle to gain a toe-hold and therefore the amount of immunity it triggers will be reduced.

Chris

P.S. Dr Karl is a great guy, incredibly clever and an inspiration to us all. I've never met anyone who can write so well and so prolifically - he's published over 27 books now - and I strive to be as good as he is!

C
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Can vaccines be given together?
« Reply #2 on: 03/10/2009 16:58:19 »
The body can respond to several vaccines at once; of course it can. The body doesn't know that the vaccine is "medical" it just treats it as a potential threat.
If it couldn't cope with a handfull of vaccines at once how could it cope with thousands of different bacteria at once? Since it does that every day...
 

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Offline chris

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Can vaccines be given together?
« Reply #4 on: 05/11/2009 02:42:32 »
One thing I should probably add is that the interferon-induced state resulting from exposure to a viral infection or a live vaccine will have an impact on the administration of another live vaccine while this is taking place.

But exposure to killed vaccines - which are effectively just bits of protein - are less likely to be compromised in this way and may safely be given in a staggered fashion.

This very question has surfaced a bit lately with people who have recently received a seasonal flu vaccination and are now being offered a swine flu vaccination a week or two later. There's no problem with this pattern of administration.

Chris
 

Gabi Fanelli

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« Reply #5 on: 03/04/2016 02:19:55 »
Hi! I'm really sorry but I don't understand this:

 So live vaccines, if you don't have them at the same time, but you have them all together IS A BAD THING to do.  Having them all together IS FINE because the immune system works by discriminating very powerfully between different epitopes that different viruses display anyway.

English is not my first language, for me it looks as in the first sentence the same thing is bad, and in the 2nd is good...

And the difference between 'having them all together' and 'having them at the same time' would be the first one, 1 single injection with all the vaccinations and the 2nd one different needels being put in difference of minutes?

I'm about to travel so SEA and seems that everybody gets 4 different vaccinations (4 needles) the same day, but I;m not sure how good that is..

If you could answer my questions I would really appreciate it!

Thanks a lot!
 

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« Reply #5 on: 03/04/2016 02:19:55 »

 

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