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Vaccines: Not just for Kids!

As National Infant Immunization Week wrapped in April, I couldn’t help but wonder how many parents thought about their immunizations.

Did you know that another way to protect your child was to be sure your Tdap – which stand for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) – vaccine  is up to date? That’s right! Parents need vaccines, too! Why? It’s important to vaccinate the whole family because anyone can be carriers of the disease and expose our children.

Parents should get vaccinated with Tdap every 5 to 10 years to protect themselves and their children against these diseases. Women who are planning to get pregnant can get vaccinated right before pregnancy or right after birth to protect their new babies.

Not only did my husband and I both get our Tdap boosters, but we insisted that our child care providers be vaccinated, too.

Yes, it was important to me that they follow her schedule – we worked hard to get on the sleep schedule. Yes, it was important that the center be clean, well lit, ventilated, and developmentally appropriate for my baby. Thankfully, we got all that.

I wanted to know, that the staff members caring for my yet-to-be-fully immunized baby were vaccinated. I’m glad to say we got that too!

Whooping cough is making a come back. Cases of pertussis have steadily risen since the 1980s, and in 2008 there were more than 13,000 cases of whooping cough, 18 of which were fatal. According to a 2003 study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, tragically, 90% of pertussis-associated deaths have been among babies less than a year old.

Babies less than 6 months old are particularity vulnerable because they cannot be fully immunized for pertussis until they are four years old. In fact half of the babies with pertussis are infected by their parents.

Immunization coverage is not just for kids! Parents, get your Tdap booster and encourage your expectant friends, first-time grandparents, and care givers to be sure they have their too!

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