False: Vaccines damage children’s immune systems.

By: Sam Doak
December 9 2022

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
False: Vaccines damage children’s immune systems.


The Verdict False

There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines are harmful to the immune systems of children when properly administered.

Claim ID a75abdba


Following a rise in the number of Strep A cases in the United Kingdom, several claims have been circulating online that attribute this increase to the use of vaccines. One such claim states that vaccines damage the immune systems of children. 

Writing on a blog well known for its vaccine-skeptical stance, Dr. Vernon Coleman summarizes this argument, stating, “many children have been jabbed with the toxic COVID-19 jab – which helps to destroy the immune system still further. And even if they haven’t been jabbed their parents and siblings probably have been. Right at the start of the jabbing epidemic I warned that immune systems would be damaged.”

Dr. Coleman is not alone in holding this opinion. While mistrust of vaccines has increased considerably since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns relating to vaccines and their effects on children’s immune systems have been a common feature of anti-vaccine discourse for years. 

In Fact 

There is no evidence that properly administered vaccines pose a risk to children’s immune systems in the vast majority of cases. On the contrary, there is a significant body of evidence that refutes this claim. 

A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at this question specifically. In this study, researchers examined two groups of children: one vaccinated, and the other unvaccinated. They found that there was no statistically significant difference in the rates of non-vaccine-targeted infections between the two groups, demonstrating that, as a whole, the vaccinated group’s immune systems were functioning as well as the unvaccinated group’s in dealing with infections other than those which the first had been vaccinated against. 

Commenting on this study, Dr. Sean O’Leary, a University of Colorado Denver Associate Professor of Pediatrics, wrote, “essentially, what this study confirms is that vaccines don’t ‘weaken’ a child’s immune system.” He went on to state that “children who receive vaccines aren’t any more likely to get sick from illnesses that are not targeted by the vaccines.”

On the safety of vaccines and their effects on children’s immune systems, the NHS advises that vaccines “do not overload or weaken the immune system – it's safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this reduces the amount of injections they need.”

Dr. Vernon Coleman has forwarded numerous scientifically unsupported claims over the years. In the 1980s, he notoriously described HIV/AIDS as a hoax, writing, “it is now my considered view that the disease we know as AIDS probably doesn't exist and has never existed.”

The Verdict

There is no evidence that properly administered vaccines are likely to damage the immune systems of children. On the contrary, the existing scientific literature suggests that this fear is unfounded. This claim has therefore been marked as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before