If granny wants to see the baby she needs a Tdap shot

If granny wants to see the baby she needs a Tdap shot

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Here's a new twist on the vaccine divide.

We've all heard parents complain about their children having to mix with unvaccinated kids in school or daycare before. What's news to me, before today, is moms who won't let their newborn's grandparents come near their grandbabies unless they've had flu and Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, pertussis) shots.

In this our site Community thread, an expecting mom wonders how to handle her parents' plans to come and visit after her baby is born:

"My parents turned anti-vax overnight and are refusing to get the flu shot or tdap. Even when we've shared info that Pertussis can be fatal for babies and there's reported cases of it in our area, they still refuse. My mom plans to stay with us for a week after baby is born."

Some readers advise her to stick to her guns and tell her parents she'll send them a picture of the baby. Others say you can't force a vaccination on grown adults. Just relax and make them wash their hands before they touch the baby.

The vaccination status of family and friends admittedly never crossed my mind when I had newborns. I was so desperate for someone to come visit and reassure me that I still existed as I nursed and napped for seeming centuries, I welcomed most every visitor, especially the ones who brought food, with gratitude. I do remember asking people to wash their hands before they held my babies. But I also remember feeling slightly neurotic for doing so.

But no one was talking about whooping cough way back then like they are now.

I recently read an article about the increase in people refusing vaccines being linked to pertussis outbreaks. According to this Boing Boing article, pertussis killed 4,000 people annually, the majority of whom were babies, before a vaccine was available.

Even with the vaccine, infants under two months are particularly vulnerable to whooping cough because they're too young to be vaccinated. The fact that the protective qualities of the vaccine tend to wear off is also a factor when it comes to adults coming in contact with babies.

I was accosted at Rite Aid just the other day while picking up an asthma inhaler for my daughter.

"Have you had a flu shot?" the pharmacist asked me. "We do them here and are highly recommending them to any parents of children with asthma or lung problems. The flu was really bad last year and you don't want to put your children at risk."

And, along with recommending the Pertussis vaccine to women in their third trimester, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is also recommending the Tdap to all caregivers of children under one year.

"Tdap is especially important for anyone in close contact with infants younger than 12 months old – for example, parents, guardians, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, teachers, and those who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine."

Clearly, washing hands isn't going to cut it anymore.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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