Posts Tagged ‘MMR’

See how your state is doing on childhood vaccination rates

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

baby vaccinationYou know that vaccines are very important. They protect your baby from serious childhood illnesses. Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

However, immunization rates across the United States vary. In order to show how vaccination rates differ among individual states, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed an interactive digital map that shows state immunization rates for vaccine-preventable diseases, including:

  • Flu: The best way to protect your baby from the flu is to make sure he gets a flu shot each year before flu season (October through May). Even though your baby’s more likely to get the flu during flu season, he can get it any time of year. The flu shot contains a vaccine that helps prevent your baby from getting the flu. Children older than 6 months can get the flu shot. Your baby gets two flu shots in his first year life. He then gets one shot each year after.
  • Varicella: This vaccine protects your child from chickenpox, an infection that spreads easily and causes itchy skin, rash and fever.
  • Diptheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP): Diptheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat and can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Tetanus (lockjaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. And pertussis (also called whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that is dangerous for a baby.
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR): This vaccine protects your baby against measles, mumps and rubella (also called German measles). Measles is a disease that’s easily spread and may cause rash, cough and fever. Mumps may cause fever, headache and swollen glands. Rubella causes mild flu-like symptoms and a skin rash.
  • HPV (human papillomavirus): This vaccine protects against the infection that causes genital warts. The infection also may lead to cervical cancer. The CDC recommends that women up to age 26 get the HPV vaccine.

According to the AAP, “The map also highlights recent outbreaks of disease that have occurred in communities where pockets of low-immunization rates left the population vulnerable. While immunization rates have remained steady or increased for many vaccines over the past decade, recent studies show that unvaccinated children are often geographically clustered in communities. These pockets of under-immunization are at higher risk of disease and have been the source of disease outbreaks, as seen with the 2014 measles outbreak in California.”

Vaccines don’t just protect the person who receives them, but they also protect more vulnerable populations, such as infants and children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Check out the map to find out what the childhood vaccination rate is in your state and how it compares to others. And remember to make sure that you and your children are up to date on all your vaccinations!

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Do adults really need vaccines?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Doctor with pregnant woman during check-upJennifer and Will hope to start a family later this year. Do either of them need vaccines before trying to conceive?

Sophia is pregnant with her second child. She remembers getting a couple of vaccines when she was pregnant with her first child. Does she need to get them again?

Lorraine and Bob just became grandparents and hope to do a lot of babysitting. Do they need any vaccines before being with their granddaughter?

The answers to all of the above? YES!

Children are not the only ones who need vaccines. Adults need them, too. As you can see from the above scenarios, vaccines are necessary before, during and after pregnancy.

Before pregnancy

Make sure your vaccinations are current so that they protect you and your baby during pregnancy. Then, ask your provider how long you need to wait before you try to get pregnant.

Are you up to date on your MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine?  This one is important because rubella is a contagious disease that can be very dangerous if you get it while you are pregnant.  In fact, it can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. The best protection against rubella is the MMR vaccine, but you need it before you get pregnant.  Then, you should avoid trying to get pregnant for at least four weeks after getting the vaccine.

During pregnancy

When you get vaccines, you aren’t just protecting yourself—you are giving your baby some early protection too. CDC recommends you get a whooping cough and flu vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.

  • Whooping cough (or Tdap) vaccine – Get this at 27 – 36 weeks of pregnancy. You need to get the Tdap vaccine in each and every pregnancy. This ensures that you pass your protection on to your baby, which will help keep him safe until he is able to get his own pertussis vaccination at 2 months of age.
  • Flu – A flu shot during pregnancy protects you from serious complications and protects your baby for up to 6 months after birth. You need a flu shot every year, as the flu strain changes year to year.

After pregnancy

Although getting vaccines during pregnancy is very important, you also need to think about those individuals who will be near your baby.

At the very least, fathers, grandparents, caregivers and anyone who is going to be in contact with your baby should be immunized against pertussis (whooping cough) and flu. They should get the Tdap and flu vaccines at least 2 weeks before meeting your baby. This strategy of surrounding babies with people who are protected against a disease such as whooping cough is called “cocooning.”

However, cocooning might not be enough to prevent your baby from getting sick. This is because cocooning does not provide any direct protection (antibodies) to your baby, and it can be difficult to make sure everyone who is around your baby has gotten their whooping cough vaccine. Therefore, it is even more important that you get your vaccines while you are pregnant.

A baby is not able to start getting most of his vaccines until he is at least two months old. For example, aside from the Hepatitis B vaccine that is given to your baby in the hospital, the first of 5 doses of the DTap (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine is given at 2 months of age. The flu vaccine is not given until 6 months, and the MMR, varicella (chickenpox), and hepatitis A vaccines are not given until 12 months.

If you haven’t received all your vaccinations before or during pregnancy, talk to your provider after giving birth to see about getting caught up to protect yourself and your baby.

What are “boosters?”

Even if you got all of your vaccinations during your life, some vaccines need “boosters” because they wear off over time. Talk with your health care provider to see whether you need them. With a little preparation and forethought, you and your baby will be protected against diseases that could be dangerous or even deadly.

Test your knowledge

Take the CDC’s Vaccines and Pregnancy Quiz for a fun way to learn what vaccines you need before and during pregnancy. It is quick and easy, and you’ll learn something whether you get the answers right or wrong.  No judgment! And check out their new Pregnancy and Vaccination page.

Have questions? Text or email them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Get your vaccinations before summer travel

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

family-at-the-beachAfter a very rough winter and a rainy spring, summer is finally here! In a few weeks, my husband, my baby girl and I (with Lola in tow) will be traveling and heading to the beach for a couple of weeks. My baby girl just had her well baby visit this week, so she’s up to date on all of her vaccines and is ready to travel.

Summer is a great time to make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date, especially this year. There’s been a recent outbreak of measles (an infection caused by a virus) in this country – the largest measles outbreak in 15 years. Most people who recently caught the measles were not vaccinated. They caught the measles in Europe (which is the middle of a major epidemic) and brought the disease back to the U.S.

Measles is easily spread and causes rash, cough and fever. In some cases, it can lead to diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, brain damage or even death. Measles can cause serious health problems in young children. It can also be especially harmful to pregnant women and can cause miscarriage.

Talk to your provider to find out if your and your family’s vaccines are up to date, especially when it comes to the measles. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, wait 1 month before trying to get pregnant after getting the measles vaccine (MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella). If you’re already pregnant, you’ll need to wait until after giving birth to get the vaccine.

If you’re  traveling out of the country with your baby and she’s 6-11 months old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that she get her first shot of the MMR vaccine before traveling. If your baby is 12-15 months, then she should get two shots (separated by 28 days) before traveling.

Vaccines and autism

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

As you undoubtedly have seen in the news lately, the controversy around vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine, and a possible link to autism is yet again a hot topic.  We reported last February that The Lancet, the journal that originally printed Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 original study that implicated vaccines as a cause of autism, had issued a complete retraction after finding several elements of the research were flawed. This week, the British Medical Journal and investigator Brian Deer uncovered “clear evidence of falsification” of Wakefield’s data, which studied only 12 children.

Dr. Wakefield’s research has been questioned for years, and the ethics violations that have come to light are further sad indications that vaccines do not cause autism. As reported previously, the courts and several large-scale studies since have found no evidence of any link.

There are many children suffering from autism and other health disorders. More research must be done to find the cause and cure of this and other health conditions affecting children. One might say that sadly, well over a decade of time, energy, funding and other resources has been spent embroiled in the vaccine controversy. Others, however, feel that Dr. Wakefield’s publication created intense focus on one possible cause of the complex problem of autism, a condition that greatly needs scientific research.  Hopefully, future efforts will be more productive.

Separating vaccines may be a good idea for some children

Monday, July 5th, 2010

shotsI have read several articles in papers lately about a Kaiser Permanente study of childhood vaccines. Children receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines in one shot and in 2005 the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine was added to the mix. One of the reasons for this was to lessen the number of needle sticks a child has to receive.

The Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center report indicates that “the four-illness combination vaccine (MMRV) doubles the risk of a fever-related seizure among 1- and 2-year-old children seven to 10 days after the shot.”  The risk of febrile (fever-related) seizure is low, and the CDC has preferred to combine the shots, but they suggest separating them for children at higher risk of febrile seizures.

If your child has had a febrile seizure in the past, or if he has an immediate family member (a brother, sister, or parent) who has epilepsy or who has had a febrile seizure, the CDC says he should usually be given MMR and varicella vaccines separately (instead of the combined MMRV vaccine) for both his first and second vaccinations. Be sure to tell your child’s doctor if your child has a personal or family history of seizures.