The holidays are a time for gatherings where cold weather drives crowds of friends and family into close indoor quarters for fellowship. These are special times but they also pose potential health hazards for infants who have not been fully immunized against vaccine preventable illnesses.
Many mothers believe that their infants will be protected by maternal antibodies for the first year of life. Latest research shows this to be inaccurate, even for breastfed babies. Take this study, where infant immunity to measles was examined. It showed that “They found insufficient levels in 20 percent of newborns, 92 percent of 3-month-olds and all of the 6-month-olds.”
In short, until your child receives his or her own vaccinations, they are susceptible to infection if exposed.
Discussing vaccine status with your friends and family before attending gatherings with your infant is one way that you can protect your child from exposure to vaccine preventable diseases. Unvaccinated individuals are at risk of contracting and spreading VPDs before they show signs of illness. People who are vaccinated are extremely unlikely to contract or spread these illnesses to your infant.
In 2019 alone, there have been more than 1200 confirmed measles cases in the US, the highest number since 1992. 1 in every 5 or so cases of measles results in hospitalization in the US. Children under 5 years of age are particularly vulnerable to complications. The rising numbers of infections, due largely to parents who have chosen not to vaccinate, necessitates extra precaution by parents of infants too young for vaccination. While discussions about vaccination status of those who wish to spend time with your child may be uncomfortable, it could spare your child a potentially life threatening illness.
One Vaxxed Nurse is happy to help you break the ice with the photo below!