<< Question: A baby can handle as many as 10,000 vaccines safely during infancy. Do you still agree with that position? >>
No, I think I probably understated it. I was asked the question, ‘How many different antigens can one handle in the first year of life?’ And so one can calculate that. You know the number of B and T cells that are released by the bone marrow, which is in the 10 to the ninth region, you know the number of epitopes, which is to say, distinct immunologic regions that are present on various antigens… and so you can calculate how many different epitopes one could theoretically respond to.
If you add up actually all the immunologic components in vaccines, the total is about 155, 160, which is trivial, and so we make 10 to the ninth new B and T cells everyday, I think probably the number is probably closer to 100,000. And that would be per day, because we’re constantly making new B and T cells. I think, unfortunately, that that statement got interpreted by the media as saying that I think children should get 10,000 vaccines, obviously that’s not what I meant. I was just answering the question, ‘How many could they get?’… and I think, I stand by that statement.
— Paul Offit, MD, pediatrician