Science May Have Found a Way to Give Kids All Their Vaccines in One Shot

kid getting vaccinated
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Getting your kids vaccinated is pure hell. From the first shot to the very last, it never gets any easier to see your children wail and flail in horror when they see the nurse walk in with that needle. Scientists at MIT may have found a solution to that problem by combining all the necessary childhood vaccines into a single injectable shot.

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Prompted by desperate medical conditions in developing nations, a team of engineers from MIT have developed a new game-changing technology. By combining all essential vaccines -- even ones that require multiple boosters -- and placing them in extremely small "capsules" that have the ability to release different doses over time, scientists could be able to administer all vaccines into the body at once.

"One of the main limitations [in the developing world] is access to vaccines and the fact that you have to come back several times in order to get immunity from the pathogen," said Ana Jaklenec, research coauthor, in an interview with the Guardian. "A child or a baby is usually seen once, sometime around the birth time by some sort of health-care worker."

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Their newly developed technique could be a godsend for children in developing nations in desperate need of vaccinations, as well as for children and parents hoping to avoid the pain of getting so many shots. But what seems like this new method's biggest selling point could also be a major source of concern -- especially with parents who fear that giving too many vaccines at the same time could cause harm to their kids.

In recent years, there's been a rise in parents' delaying vaccines out of fear that getting too many shots at once could become harmful to their children's immune system. Many parents have even taken matters into their own hands by putting their children on alternative vaccination schedules, despite science that suggests these delayed schedules may not be the answer to safer vaccine practices.

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The time-release technology is also a cause for concern. Since there's no way to control when the vaccines will be released into the system once the capsules are injected, they could pose serious problems for children who develop viral infections after they've gotten the shot.

"We prefer to avoid immunising when you might have an active viral infection," David Goldblatt, professor of vaccinology and immunology at University College London, said to the Guardian. "[What happens] if a child has malaria on the day that the [vaccine dose] is released automatically?"

As with most things, progress is still slow. Researchers have tested this new method on mice with great success, but it may be years before it is officially introduced as a legitimate medical method. Still, this technology is clearly an amazing breakthrough. While there's definitely a long way to go and more research to be done, it signals some amazing progress in the medical field that could change childhood immunization as we know it.

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