January 14, 2020

How Vaccines Provide Herd Immunity for Babies

Adalyn and Oliver are fully vaccinated according to our pediatrician's schedule. They got their flu shots in the early fall season to hopefully protect us from the flu and have gotten all of their other shots when recommended. The problem is that Lily is too young to get a flu shot and some of the other shots like measles yet. I've been doing some research on herd immunity to make sure that our baby is protected and safe from these preventable diseases.

Immunity in newborns

Something awesome that I learned is that newborns receives antibodies from their mothers during the last 1-2 months of pregnancy. Due to this, newborns are immune to some diseases but that only lasts a few months. Babies do not get antibodies to protect them from diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, or Hib. Therefore, it is necessary to vaccinate babies before they are exposed to a disease. When a baby gets vaccinated, they will start to produce antibodies with each vaccine dose. 

Many of these vaccines are started at 2 months old since the antibodies decrease at this time. When Lily turned 2 months old, she got 3 vaccine shots and 1 oral vaccine. We had 1-2 days of increased fussiness but no other issues and after that, she was completely back to her usual self.

Herd Immunity

Lily is too young to get some of her shots like the measles vaccine (MMR) and the flu shot. This is very scary for me as a mom. I want her to be safe but it's not like we can stay trapped in the house all of the time until she is old enough. The measles outbreak has hit Michigan and it terrifies me. Babies cannot get the MMR vaccine to protect against measles until they are 12 months old. The flu shot is not given until 6 months old and some other shots are not given until 6 months as well.

What we can do at this point to protect Lily is to be vaccinated ourselves. When a sickness is going around and enough people get it, it can lead to an outbreak. When there are enough people vaccinated against a certain disease, the germs can't travel as easily and people are less likely to get the disease which is called herd immunity. The means that people who can't get vaccinated, like a young baby, will have some protection from getting sick. 

When I was pregnant with Lily, we asked all of our closest relatives to get checked to see if they needed another measles vaccination. I'm very thankful that they all got checked because I want to keep our baby safe and healthy.

How to keep your baby safe from disease before they can get vaccinated

-Stay on top of your own vaccination schedule and surround yourself with people who also choose to vaccinate
-Vaccinate your baby according to their pediatrician's schedule

I love working with I Vaccinate to help spread the word about the importance of vaccines. In fact, our pediatrician's office has I Vaccinate information all around the office so they support them as well. I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by I Vaccinate- a company that I am super passionate about and love to help encourage others to get their vaccines.

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