Posts Tagged ‘shots’

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

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. 

Medical journal no longer supports 1998 study linking vaccine to autism

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

You may have seen our past posts about vaccines and autism. As we noted in those posts, most medical experts do not believe there is a connection between vaccines (specifically the MMR vaccine and thimerosal) and autism. Today, Lancet (the medical journal that published the original study linking vaccines to autism in 1998) retracted the study. The journal found that several elements of that research were flawed.

It’s our goal at NMN to provide you with the latest health information to help you make the best decisions for yourself and family. There are many children suffering from autism and other health disorders. We hope that more research will be done to find the cause and cure of this and other health conditions affecting children. We’ll continue to update you as more information becomes available.

Lessen baby’s pain during vaccines

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

crying-babyTo me, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than hearing a baby cry from being hurt.  Whenever I’m at the doctor’s office and I hear a baby crying from an examination room down the hall, I can usually guess what happened – time for baby’s vaccine shots.  Some vaccine shots are more painful than others, but they all are important in helping a baby stay healthy.

The New York Times recently reported on a study showing that it might be possible to lower a baby’s pain by switching the order of the DPTaP-Hib vaccine (diphtheria, polio, pertussis, tetanus and Haemophilus influenzae Type B) and the PCV vaccine (pneumococcal disease). Most babies receive the DPTaP-Hib and PCV vaccines during the same health visit. The study, which appeared in this month’s issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that babies who got the DPTaP-Hib vaccine first experienced less pain than those that got the PCV vaccine first. The researchers found that if the PCV vaccine (the more painful of the two) was given first, the baby was more likely to focus his attention on the situation at hand, which could make him more aware of the pain and could speed up his response to the hurt he feels. In other words, a baby is already hurting from the PCV vaccine, which can make him more sensitive to the less painful DPTaP-Hib vaccine.

Keep in mind that this study is very small, so we don’t know anything for sure. But since a baby usually gets both vaccines on the same health visit, it wouldn’t hurt (no pun intended) to talk to your baby’s provider about giving the DPTaP-Hib vaccine shot first, followed by the PCV vaccine. The March of Dimes article on vaccines has more information.

New study: No connection between MMR vaccine and autism

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I don’t like to see children cry when they get their vaccinations. But the truth is, those shots can be life-saving.

A new study provides more evidence that there is no connection between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and an increased risk of autism. Researchers from Columbia University, Harvard University and other institutions published their findings in the online journal PLoS ONE.

In 2004, the Institute of Medicine reviewed all medical research about a possible link between autism, the MMR vaccine, and vaccines containing a preservative called thimerosol. The institute concluded that there was no connection.

But some people are still concerned and won’t let their children be vaccinated. This latest study should help reassure both parents and health care providers. For the safety of your children, get them vaccinated.

To learn more, read the articles Vaccinations and Autism on the March of Dimes Web site.

Are your kids getting their vaccines?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Measles, Mumps, Polio – Not too far back, these diseases threatened the lives of our parents.  But, thanks to the advances made in health and science, these illnesses and many others are nearly wiped out in the U.S. today.

Vaccines play a huge role in keeping our kids safe from infectious diseases.  Unfortunately, there is a growing movement against vaccinating children and more than 1 in 5 of the nation’s two-year-olds are NOT being fully vaccinated.

This trend should alarm all parents.  Without maintaining high vaccination rates in our population, we could very soon see the day when these diseases return with full force.  Every child needs to be vaccinated to avoid this threat.

While, in rare cases, a child may have an allergic reaction to a vaccine, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risks. When vaccinated, children are protected against very serious and life-threatening diseases.  Learn more about vaccinations or contact your health care provider with any questions you may have.