Feature Article: Can Vaccines Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier?

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Parents PACK

When people think about how the brain is protected, they typically think about the skull. And, while the bones of the skull are an important external protective barrier, people often don’t realize that internal barriers also protect the brain. One of the most important internal barriers is the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

In this Science Made Easy video, Dr. Offit explains the importance of the blood-brain barrier in protecting the brain from infections caused by viruses and bacteria. He also addresses why we can be reassured that vaccines aren’t likely to cross this important protective barrier, a question some parents have related to vaccine safety.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.