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Wealthy countries that require the highest number of vaccines for children under the age of 1 also have the highest rates of death in that age group, according to a study conducted by an independent computer scientist and a researcher from the Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute, and published in the journal Human & Experimental Toxicology in 2011.

The study stemmed from the recognition that while the U.S. vaccine schedule calls for more vaccine doses than any other country, the United States still ranks 34th among nations in terms of infant mortality.

For the purposes of the study, the researchers defined a “vaccine dose” as “an exact amount of medicine or drug to be administered.” Thus, triple vaccines such as DTaP or MMR are each considered to be three vaccine doses, since three drugs are being given at the same time.

The U.S. vaccine schedule calls for 26 vaccine doses before age 1.

More vaccination, more infant death

The researchers collected infant mortality rates (IMRs) for the top 34 countries in the world. Four of the countries – Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino – had so few infant deaths (fewer than five) that their IMRs were considered statistically unreliable, so these countries were excluded from the analysis.

For the remaining 30 countries, a higher number of required vaccine doses was associated with a higher IMR – refuting the argument that a higher number of vaccinations improves overall infant health.