Fact Check: 6-Month-Old Today MAY Receive More Shots This Year Than A 40-Year-Old Has Had In Their Life, Due To Medical Advances

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: 6-Month-Old Today MAY Receive More Shots This Year Than A 40-Year-Old Has Had In Their Life, Due To Medical Advances Different Eras

Will a 6-month-old baby get more shots this year than a 40-year-old has already had in their lifetime? It depends on the person choosing their vaccinations. Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule that was available on August 19, 2022, Lead Stories counted 16 recommended childhood shots through the first six months of life. If you add COVID-19 and flu shots, the number of vaccinations at that age grows to 18. This is about twice what was recommended and available in the early 1980s, when fewer medicines were available for common diseases and viruses.

The number of additional shots a person will have over their life depends on their general health and any additional risk factors they may have. Using the CDC's Adult Immunization Schedule, which includes recommendations for people ages 19 and older, a person born in the early 1980s may receive additional vaccinations ranging anywhere from 10 to as high as 80 by the time they turn 40 if you include annual flu shots. COVID vaccinations are not a part of that number.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post published by "Professional Intuitive Healer" Allie Duzett's page on August 16, 2022. It opens:

Just a reminder that the average 40yo today has had fewer pokes in their entire life than the average 6mo baby has had this year. 👍👍👍

The illustration includes pincushions for the years 1962, 1983 and 2019. This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

tomato pins.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Aug 19 15:45:25 2022 UTC)

The Facebook post itself includes no basis for the assertion.

Different vaccine eras

In an August 19, 2022, email to Lead Stories, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center explained how the post may or may not be true:

History of vaccines

The number of recommended vaccines has grown over the years as scientists have discovered new cures and as new viruses, like COVID-19, have spread. In the late 1940s, the schedule only included smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. In 1955, the polio vaccine was added. The smallpox vaccine was no longer recommended after 1972. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated in 1980. No cases of naturally occurring smallpox have happened since.

In the early 1980s, this is what the vaccine schedule looked like for today's 40-year-olds:

  • Diphtheria*
  • Tetanus*
  • Pertussis*
  • Polio (OPV)
  • Measles**
  • Mumps**
  • Rubella**

* Given in combination as DTP
** Given in combination as MMR

This has been the vaccine schedule for children since 2011:

  • Diphtheria*
  • Tetanus*
  • Pertussis*
  • Measles**
  • Mumps**
  • Rubella**
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Hib
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella
  • Hepatitis A
  • Pneumococcal
  • Influenza
  • Rotavirus

* Given in combination as DTaP
** Given in combination as MMR


  • 2022-08-22T17:49:27Z 2022-08-22T17:49:27Z
    Corrects publish date for Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant's Immune System? | Pediatrics | American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org) to 2002 from 1986.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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