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Should *I* Get a Pertussis Shot?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I live in CA and everyone is talking about the pertussis thing. I still nurse my almost-20-month-old frequently and he does not go to daycare (but does do a playgroup at a local nursery school once a week). He is clearly not an infant, but is on the smaller side (~3rd percentile). He is not vaxed, and neither was I as a kid. Would it do me or him (or any future kid I have) any good if *I* got a pertussis shot? I have asthma and I *do* get flu shots every year, so I'm do see a place for some shots. I have been TTC, but I am taking a month off after two early losses, to give my body a break and take care of a few things (losing ten pounds, getting a cavity filled, and the aforementioned flu shot). Would adding a pertussis shot to the list protect my son (if he even needs protection at this age) or a future sibling of his? Since I was never vaccinated, would a "booster" do anything for me, or do I need an entire series? Is the pertussis shot the one that is very toxic and causes brain inflammation...maybe I don't want to get that shot if it could affect a baby I might conceive in the months to come...?

Thanks!
post #2 of 14
The pertussis is the scary one that has a very high rate of side effects. The general consensus seems to be that the shot only reduces/prevents you from displaying symptoms but does not prevent transmission because it's a bacterial infection, not viral. Therefore, you getting the shot will not protect your kids and may increase their risk because if you show symptoms then at least you know that you may have it and can increase your precautions. Without knowing that you have it, you'll just silently transmit it.
post #3 of 14
Yes to the PP. The vaccine isn't designed to prevent illness, but to mitigate it. So only you profit from having the shot as it mitigates your case, which is dangerous as you might think hey it's only a cold and unknowingly pass it on to your children and others... I feel it gives you a very false sense of security. Unfortunately, most people do not know that the vaccine doesn't stop transmission (well it does mitigate the disease so you might be infectious less time than a non-vaccinated individual, but still, there will be a time that you are contagious) and happily visit family's homes with their cough and sneezes... E.g. DH's cousin (in San Jose) forbids any adults or children in her house who do not have a DTap/TDaP, yet sick people are allowed as long as they have the shot. She doesn't understand that they still very well might carry pertussis around with them. In their case, the false security created by their doctor and the vaccine ad actually created a rather dangerous situation...
I personally don't get the shot, I had a DT in 2006 and the T portion shouldn't be given more than once in 10 years usually, it gets more reactive with age, and the whole P thing doesn't convince me at all. Instead, no sick people get to visit us ever, and when the new baby arrives, I will be especially cautious. But we live far away from family so that won't be a problem.
post #4 of 14
Once the coughing starts, the more you cough, the more bacteria you spew out. So I do feel there is benefit to cocooning when it comes to pertussis as well as treating every symptom as possible pertussis and taking the appropriate measures to do what you can to stop transmission.
post #5 of 14
DH and I just got boosters. I would get my titers drawn if I was in your position to see whether you have any immunity to it and have your doctor make the decision.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post
DH and I just got boosters. I would get my titers drawn if I was in your position to see whether you have any immunity to it and have your doctor make the decision.

completely disagree on that one! You consult with your doctor, you get advice from your doctor, but you make the decisions for you and your family. The doctor takes no liability for his 'advice'.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13Sandals View Post
completely disagree on that one! You consult with your doctor, you get advice from your doctor, but you make the decisions for you and your family. The doctor takes no liability for his 'advice'.
I agree completely. I went to my dr (who is a vax friendly ped that I really trust) w/ the agonizing decision of whether to vax DS who is 5 for the benefit of newborn in the spring. She gave me both sides to the story. When i told her my mom wouldn't weigh in b/c she didn't want to be responsible for anything - she said "well, and that's where I am at too. Just let me know what you decide." Every health care professional I have talked to (including my acupuncturist) has been very tight lipped with their opinions. No one wants liability either way.
post #8 of 14
My dh and I are getting it as soon as the new baby is born. My oldest dd caught pertussis from her father when she was younger and it was horrible on her. I know it isn't 100 percent but since I feel more comfortable giving the shot to an adult (and older children in the case of my two daughters) than to a newborn I figure every little bit helps.
post #9 of 14
The vaccine is not the only preventative measure. If the family suspect someone has whooping cough, you can also take the antibiotics, which I understand to reduce the transmission if given in time. To the best of my knowledge, there is better evidence that the antibiotics reduce transmission than the vaccine. There is no evidence that the vaccine reduces transmission.

It would seem prudent not to cough on babies, whatever kind of cough you have. And prudent to keep all sick people away from babies and not visit public places with sick people.

Whooping cough is not the only disease that is scary in newborns. They are fragile and need to be protected regardless of vaccine status of people around them.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post
DH and I just got boosters. I would get my titers drawn if I was in your position to see whether you have any immunity to it and have your doctor make the decision.
Immunity for pertussis? There is no such thing. You can get pertussis multiple times with or without the vax. The only thing the vax does is supposedly decrease the severity of the outbreak.

I would also never advise someone to "have your doctor make the decision". Get your doctor's advise, research and then do what you feel is best for you and your family. Never rely on someone else to make those decisions for you.
post #11 of 14
I personally have a 2 week old and refused to get the Tdap when I was TTC but wish I had it now. If you are taking a break from TTC you might consider that, whether you'll want it with a newborn.
post #12 of 14

I don't know if this will help you, but I can tell you what happened to us recently:

My 3.5 yr old daughter was up to date on DTaP

My 20 month old has had the first 3 rounds of DTaP (If I could do it over I would have made sure she had that 4th one on time)

I had not had the booster, and neither had DH.  We had no idea we were supposed to have it.

My sister had not had it and her daughter (18 months old)  was completely unvaxed.  

 

My sister's daughter caught it from somewhere (i don't know where) and was very sick for about 6 weeks.  After 3 weeks of her coughing, my girls started showing symptoms of a common cold but at the time we didn't realize what we were dealing with.  My 3 yr old got a bad cough for a total of 2 days, no real breathing issues.  Her total illness was short lived and mild.  

However, my 20 month old was not so lucky.  She had a runny nose and sneezy sniffles for 3 weeks before she started coughing, and then it got BAD.  She would stop breathing if she coughed or cried. She was turning blue and purple, she would not eat or drink or nurse.  I took her to the doc and she tested positive for pertussis. So, she, DD1, DH and myself (I was also ill and coughing at this time) got antibiotics. DH and I also had the Tdap booster at this time. She was VERY VERY sick for about a week. And now, 5 weeks in, she is still a little sniffley, but it looks like we are at the end. DH never got sick.

 

We were in contact with soooo many people, at the store, at DD1's ballet lessons, at the park, at the mall play area, at the doctors office, around family, ect.  There are hundreds of people in the community that we probably exposed during those first weeks when we didn't know what we had.  And DH is a teacher, so I am thankful he doesn't seem to have caught it (theoretically because of the antibiotics and shot, but who knows). 

 

Anyway, my point is that it is really bad, really painful (even for me as an adult, it was VERY painful in my chest) So if you can protect your baby in any way, I say go for it.

 

And *for us*, The severity of the disease symptoms directly correlated to how up to date the vaccines were before the onset of symptoms.

 

Editing to add that my sister's daughter was treated by the hospital at the same time we were all treated and is now better.

post #13 of 14

I had horribale whooping cought as child horribale. And babies have died in California from it. So, I vaccinated and I got vaccinated. 

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

I had horribale whooping cought as child horribale. And babies have died in California from it. So, I vaccinated and I got vaccinated. 



I promise that I'm not trying to trivialize your experience with whooping cough, and I'm really sorry you went through that!

 

I do want to point out that there's more to the California story than meets the eye.

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