Q: How can I keep my infant safe from serious diseases when people aren’t vaccinating like they used to?
It can be scary when you have a brand new baby and know that the rate of vaccination among children has been declining. Children who are most at risk are those who cannot be vaccinated due to an underlying medical condition and very small infants, as they are most likely to develop complications associated with serious illness. Fortunately, there are things you can do to take some control over what your baby (or child) is exposed to:
First, create a “nest” or “cocoon” at home by limiting guests and family members to those who have been fully vaccinated. The risk of the baby contracting a vaccine-preventable illness declines significantly when they are around those who have been vaccinated. It’s okay to let others know that if they are not vaccinated—particularly if there is an epidemic, which we may see more of due to declining vaccination rates—that it would be safer for your baby if they deferred their visit.
Second, breastfeed if you can. Breastfeeding provides babies with further immune system protection.
Third, make sure that your baby or child receives their vaccines at the recommended intervals per the CDC schedule.
—Dr. Courtney White, pediatrician at The Vancouver Clinic