I have seen public service announcements on TV over the past few years about the Pertussis vaccine. The PSA explains that whopping cough sends infants to the hospital every year, can cause brain damage and in some cases, can even be fatal. Can you just imagine feeling the joy of becoming a new parent and then standing by as your child turns blue and helplessly coughs for weeks on end? I'm sorry if that's a disturbing picture to you, but its just something that makes me really upset to think about.
The best way to greatly reduce your child's chance of getting whopping cough is to get the Pertussis vaccine. I know my husband & I will both be vaccinated, but babies don't receive their first dose until they are 2 months old. So my feeling is that anyone who wants to hold the baby and especially spend long periods of time around the baby within the first two months should get the vaccine.
Luckily, my husband & I don't have a ton of friends (don't feel bad for us, we like it that way!), but we have a lot of family. I come from a science family. My mother is a Registered Nurse and my brother studied biology, so I know they will all be on board with getting vaccinated.
However, my husband's family seems pretty resistant thus far, especially my mother-in-law. Its so frustrating to me, because I don't want to be rude, but I feel so uncomfortable. My husband has 5 brothers and sisters that live near us (plus their spouses & kids), most of whom will want to see & hold the baby within the first two months. Another thing complicating the issue is that my husband & I plan on moving back to Vermont when the baby is about 1.5 months old. Being between pediatricians and hospitals, plus traveling a lot during that time before we move makes me nervous.
What do I do? I know my husband will help as an enforcer, but what if someone travels to see the baby and they haven't been vaccinated? Can I just say no? I honestly am not a paranoid person and I know that I can't prevent the baby from every sickness, but because baby doesn't get vaccinated for 2 months, it makes me worried. I'm just trying to do what I think is best for my baby.
Here are some articles on Whopping Cough & the Pertussis vaccine:
CDC Pertussis Fast Facts
Sounds of Pertussis Campaign
Pertussis epidemic: How Vermont's anti-vaxxer activists stopped a vaccine bill
**One last note: I understand that some people believe that vaccines cause other problems for kids, like Autism. I just want to be clear that I am not asking for feedback on whether or not to vaccinate my child. That is an entirely different discussion.
I'm looking for advice from those who believe in the benefits of vaccination on how to deal with relatives in this particular situation. Are you/did you make family & friends get the pertussis vaccine? If you didn't, do you wish you had? As for that feedback, please comment and help me out!
xo kristen genevieve