Sunday, September 17, 2023

What Vaccinations Do Grandparents Need For A New Baby

What About Visitors Who Smoke

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids | Parents

Smoking around a baby, as with smoking during pregnancy, comes with considerable risks.

But what if your pack-a-day uncle asks for a cuddle with your newborn, just minutes after stubbing out his cigarette?

“Being around a smoker will have an impact on the baby,” says Professor Shyamali Dharmage, head of the Allergy and Lung Health at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health.

“He may not be smoking around the baby, but if he is smoking at the home or even outside the home, it’s very easy for the smoke to get to the baby’s lungs.”

When Should I Have The Whooping Cough Vaccine

The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks of pregnancy. This maximises the chance that your baby will be protected from birth, through the transfer of your antibodies before he or she is born.

If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. However, this is not ideal, as your baby is less likely to get protection from you. At this stage of pregnancy, having the vaccination may not directly protect your baby, but would help protect you from whooping cough and from passing it on to your baby.

Is Whooping Cough Vaccination In Pregnancy Working

Yes, it is. Published research from the UK vaccination programme shows that vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough has been highly effective in protecting young babies until they can have their first vaccination when they are 8 weeks old.

Babies born to women vaccinated at least a week before birth had a 91% reduced risk of becoming ill with whooping cough in their first weeks of life, compared to babies whose mothers had not been vaccinated.

An additional benefit is that the protection the mother receives from the vaccination will lower her own risk of infection and of passing whooping cough on to her baby.

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Do You Recommend These Same Vaccines For Grandparents And Other Family Members Who Will Be In Close Contact With The Newborn

I do. All close contacts to the newborn should be vaccinated with the annual influenza vaccine at least 2 weeks before meeting the baby.

They should also have had Tdap in the last 10 years. If they have not received that vaccine, they should get a Tdap booster at least 2 weeks before meeting the baby.

Read: How to Prepare for Flu Season: A Family Guide

Which Vaccines Do You Recommend During Pregnancy

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I recommend two vaccines for pregnant parents: The first is the flu vaccine, and the second is pertussis .

The flu vaccine should be given to expecting parents as soon possible .

The antibodies generated by the flu shot will also circulate to the baby during pregnancy and protect the baby in early life. This is really important since the baby cant get the flu shot before they are 6 months old, and we dont have very effective treatments to care for those babies who become very ill with the flu.

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What Do You Suggest Expecting Parents Do If Family Members Are Hesitantor Outright Refuseto Get Vaccinated

I personally take a strong stanceif a family member is not willing to get vaccinated, I dont let them near my children until my kids have been adequately vaccinated and are a bit older .

The issue of vaccines should be brought up the same way that an expecting parent speaks to family members about other illnesses.

Just as you would ask them to wash their hands, check themselves for signs/symptoms of illness , anyone wanting to be close to a newborn should be willing to vaccinate themselves against infections that could seriously harm the baby.

Precautions Are Still Important Even After Vaccinations

Even if people are vaccinated, they should wear a mask, wash their hands when they come into the home, and most importantly, not come around if theyre having any symptoms of illness, Mills said.

Limiting the number of visitors reduces the risk of exposing your newborn to COVID-19 or other serious infections in the first few months.

If someone is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it is less likely they will transmit the virus to the newborn or the family, Bhargava said. But the vaccine may not protect fully against some variants. Additionally, a person could still transmit another non-COVID virus or infection to the newborn.

She noted that she was very careful when her children were newborns and limited unnecessary exposure to others until they were 4-6 months of age.

In the pandemic, it is best to be extra careful and try to limit this until they are even a bit older, Bhargava said. If people would like to visit, make sure they are vaccinated, masked and remain socially distanced. Safety and prevention is the best way to prevent your baby from getting sick.

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Why Do Babies Need So Many Vaccines

Dr. Maulin Soneji explores common vaccines recommended for infants between birth and 15 months and how these immunizations and will protect infants in the real world.

As a new parent, it may be overwhelming to face the many steps involved in taking care of a new babys health. One of those steps is infant immunizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinations are necessary for preventing infants from developing a severe illness, pain, disability, or even death from an infectious disease.

Maulin Soneji, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, says with early-in-life vaccinations, physicians are trying to prevent illnesses such as meningitis, pneumonia, tetanus, and whooping cough, to name a few. Infants are most at risk for these diseases within their first year of life.

“We know that an infant doesn’t have to be out and around a ton of people to contract these illnesses,” Soneji says. “It just takes the right exposure from a parent who unknowingly picked up the bacteria from work. We’ve seen infants, especially under six months of age, who were not vaccinated against these common illnesses or were only partially vaccinated they were hospitalized with very severe illness. There have even been cases of infant mortality from these preventable conditions.

What Can You Do To Minimize Risk Wear Masks During Visits

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Many of my patients are allowing their parents to hold the new grandchild in an outside setting, while wearing masks, with meticulous hand hygiene before and after the interaction. Nothing is without some element of risk, but as long as everyone is making an informed decision based on the current evidence that minimizes the most amount of risk, then I think this is the best we can do during these uncertain times. And at the end of the day, the decision is about risk tolerance. I often have to remind my patients that the grandparents in these scenarios also have the autonomy to make an informed decision.

For more information on this topic, I encourage readers to watch this short interview on the Instagram account with Dr. Eyal Cohen, staff paediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children.

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So How Can I Protect My Baby

The only way you can help protect your baby from getting whooping cough in their first few weeks after birth is by having the whooping cough vaccination yourself while you are pregnant.

After vaccination, your body produces antibodies to protect against whooping cough. You will then pass some immunity to your unborn baby.

Concerns About Side Effects Of Immunisation

If a side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe or if you are worried about yourself or your child’s condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital. Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the Victorian vaccine safety service .

You can discuss with your immunisation provider how to report adverse events in other states or territories.

It is important to seek medical advice if you are unwell, as this may be due to other illness rather than because of the vaccination.

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Does Your Baby Have To Be Immunised

In the UK, parents can decide whether or not to have their children immunised. Vaccination is recommended because it gives your baby protection against serious diseases, most of which can kill. Around the world, many children are now routinely protected with vaccines. Because of this, some of the worlds most serious diseases may soon disappear.

What About Travelling To Go Meet A New Baby Is It Better To Drive Or Fly


People often think that it is safer to drive instead of fly, however, the answer is not as simple as that. The evidence on this continues to evolve, but COVID-19 transmission on planes might be lower risk than what many people believe. Im not saying that the risk with flying is minimal, but current evidence is suggesting that it might not be as high as we had assumed.

The other thing to think about is how long the drive is. If the drive is four hours long, and requires very few stops, of course it makes sense to drive and is likely safer than flying during COVID-19. However, if the journey is longer and requires at least two days of driving, you need to quantify the number of stops along the way that would involve potential exposures . All of these exposures start to add up and the cumulative risk of acquiring COVID-19 while driving might be greater than flying.

If family members are driving to meet the newborn, I would recommend trying to physically distance at all these stops, wearing a mask and meticulous hand washing when leaving each location.

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Newborns Are Vulnerable To Infections

Newborns are particularly vulnerable to any infections because they do not yet have fully developed immune systems, said Belinda Mills, a primary care physician at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Because of this, parents should be cautious of anyone who is around the baby, especially if they have a cold. It is particularly important for those babies who have underlying conditions as they might be at higher risk for severe illness.

While children generally have milder COVID-19 symptoms, infants can be more vulnerable to severe disease, particularly in their first few months of life.

Although most infants who have been infected with COVID-19 dont have severe disease, it is still risky, said Hansa Bhargava, a pediatrician and senior medical director of WebMD in Atlanta. Its best to avoid contact with others in the newborn period.

Infants immune systems strengthen over time, particularly after they get their first routine vaccinations and boosters for a variety of serious diseases. They remain at risk, though, for complications of COVID-19 as there is currently no vaccine for babies and children.

Should You Get The Covid

As more Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, many activities people have avoided over the last year will likely become less risky. For parents of newborns, theres the hope that they may feel safe introducing their babies to more loved ones.

I recognize it is very hard to parent without your village. This past year has been very difficult for parents of newborns, said Jaime Friedman, a San Diego-based pediatrician and director of marketing at Childrens Primary Care Medical Group.

Luckily we now have vaccines that are very effective so that more and more family and friends can begin to visit or help out, she added. As our vaccine access and eligibility improves, it will be easier for families to surround themselves with other vaccinated adults.

Recent promising data has suggested that vaccinated people may not transmit the virus and that vaccinated mothers likely can pass COVID-19 antibodies to their babies through the placenta and breast milk, which may provide protection to newborns.

Still, as we remain cautiously optimistic, its important to make wise choices when it comes to newborn babies. Below, pediatricians share what you need to know about interactions with newborns in the age of COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Family And Caregiver Vaccine Timing

Anyone who needs the whooping cough or flu vaccines should get them at least two weeks before meeting the baby because it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies after vaccination.

When one member of a household has a respiratory illness, other members are at risk for getting ill, too. Researchers have:

  • identified siblings and parents as the most common sources of whooping cough infection in young infants.1
  • found that many other people can get babies sick, including grandparents, caregivers, and friends of the family.

When everyones vaccinations are up to date, parents can feel more secure about the safety of their child.

Immunisation And Young Children

How many Vaccines does a child get? – Dr. Shaheena Athif

In the first months of life, a baby might have some protection from infectious diseases that their mother has had or been immunised against. This is known as passive immunity. It occurs when antibodies are transferred from mother to baby during pregnancy. The level of antibody protection for the baby can be low and wears off quickly. This puts them at risk of diseases that can be prevented with vaccination.Most childhood immunisations are given as an injection in the arm or leg, except rotavirus vaccine, which is given by mouth. A vaccination dose may contain a vaccine against one specific disease, or several diseases. This is known as a combination injection, and it helps to reduce the number of injections your child needs.

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Which Whooping Cough Vaccine Will I Be Given

As there is no whooping cough-only vaccine, the vaccine you’ll be given also protects against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. The vaccine is called Boostrix IPV.

Boostrix IPV is similar to the 4-in-1 vaccine the pre-school booster that’s routinely given to children before they start school.

You can read the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet for Boostrix IPV .

Some Diseases Have Disappeared From This Country Why Do We Need To Immunise Against Them

In the UK, these diseases are kept at bay by high immunisation rates. Around the world, millions of people a year die from infectious diseases with more than 5 million of these being children under the age of 5.

Many of these deaths could be prevented by immunisation. As more people travel abroad and more people come to visit this country, there is a risk that they will bring these diseases into the UK. The diseases may spread to people who havent been immunised so your baby is at greater risk if he or she has not been immunised.

Immunisation doesnt just protect your child it also helps to protect your family and the whole community, especially those children who, for medical reasons, cant be immunised.

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Why Should I Vaccinate My Child At Such A Young Age

The vaccination schedule is designed to protect your child before they are exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. Children are vaccinated early in life because they are vulnerable to diseases and the consequences can be very serious. But if vaccinated on time, your child has the most protection as early as possible.

Should Visitors Be Allowed To Kiss The Baby

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The thought of a sniffling, virus-ridden visitor can strike fear into any new parent’s heart.

Before you issue a blanket ban on any and all kisses from visitors, it’s wise to factor in the benefits your baby can get from visitor snuggles.

“There is a lot of information that goes around in mothers’ groups and it can isolate a lot of people,” says Archana Koirala, a paediatric infectious diseases physician and immunisation fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance .

“I think it’s really important to understand that babies need to be cuddled, they need to be touched, they need to be loved. So when you say, ‘No, you can’t do this, you can’t do that’, you’re actually providing restrictions potentially on a newborn’s development.”

That’s not to say it’s a kissing free-for-all when visitors meet your newborn.

Visitors with cold sores or anyone experiencing virus-like symptoms such as a cough, diarrhea or vomiting, red eyes, a fever, a runny nose shouldn’t visit a newborn until their symptoms have completely cleared because those illnesses can pose serious risks to babies, Dr Koirala says.

“Cold sores are a consequence of recurrent herpes simplex infection,” she adds.

“The disease, although mild and discomforting in the adult, can cause devastating disease with high mortality and morbidity in newborns, especially if the central nervous system is involved.

How can you make your wishes clear to visitors?

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What Immunisations Do You Need

The immunisations you may need are decided by your health, age, lifestyle, and occupation.

Together, these factors are known as HALO. Your GP will consider these factors when recommending immunisations for you. You can check your immunisation HALO using the Immunisation for Life downloadable poster.

How Are Vaccines Approved

Vaccines must go through years of research, followed by testing and retesting before they can be used in Canada. Several systems are in place to monitor the creation, the use, and the safety of vaccines. Each vaccine MUST be proven to be safe and to work before it can be given. Vaccine reactions are reported by healthcare providers to local public health authorities to make sure unusual or unexpected reactions can be dealt with quickly.

Watch our vaccine safety video @

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Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme

Current immunisations are extremely safe but, very rarely, an individual may suffer from a problem after vaccination. The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme is designed to ease the present and future burdens of the person who, on that very rare occasion, may be affected by the vaccination. There are several conditions that need to be met before a payment can be made.

If you need more information, please contact:

Vaccine Damage Payments Unit


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