Timely immunisation is the most important thing a parent can do to keep their baby healthy. As a new or to-be parent, you may know that vaccinating newborns is essential in keeping them well and limiting their risk of contracting harmful diseases. Moms too are vaccinated during the course of their pregnancy and after birth so that their immunity is passed on to their child for at least the first few months of their lives. However, not many dads realize that they need to be up to date on certain vaccinations in order to safely be around their newborn babies. In this article, we outline the vaccines that dads, and anyone else in close proximity to the baby, need to get.
Why do dads need to be vaccinated?
Newborns don’t get out much, so when they catch diseases such as the flu or whooping cough it is usually from a family member in close contact with them - most likely mom or dad. By ensuring you are vaccinated against these diseases you are eliminating the risk of carrying and spreading it to babies who are too young to have had their shots themselves.
Diseases that dads and other family members in close contact with infants need immunisation against.
Measles, mumps and rubella
The MMR Vaccine protects you from measles, mumps and rubella. And because pregnant women and babies cannot be administered the MMR vaccine, they are especially in danger of contracting these diseases. Diseases such as measles can cause serious birth defects and even miscarriage so it is imperative for expectant dads to make sure they have been immunised against it or get the vaccine if they haven’t.
Protecting you against the flu, this vaccine is recommended for all adults every year, whether or not you live with an infant. Flu can be a serious illness and pregnant women and infants are more prone to deadly complications that can arise from it. Though pregnant women can be administered the vaccine, children can only take it from the age of two-years-old and older. Therefore, it’s important that fathers are protected against potentially contracting the disease and passing it on. The vaccine is not recommended for those who have egg allergies and asthma.
Chicken pox isn’t just a disease that strikes children. Adults can develop the disease as well. Besides being uncomfortable and disrupting everyday life, chicken pox can have serious complications in severe cases, including brain infections and pneumonia - which are extremely dangerous to vulnerable babies. If you have not had chicken pox in your lifetime, ask your doctor about getting vaccinated or getting a booster shot in case you have had an initial inoculation.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTP)
This vaccine protects against three diseases that are caused by bacteria: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (or whooping cough). While tetanus infects a person via cuts and wounds on the skin, diphtheria and pertussis are passed on from person to person. Even though you may have had the vaccine at a young age, its protection fades with time and it is recommended that new fathers and others in close contact with infants get immunised as these diseases can have devastating consequences on newborns.
Many people who are infected with hepatitis B are unaware of it. The disease can cause chronic problems such as liver disease and cancer. Mothers are usually tested and vaccinated for hepatitis B during the prenatal checkups. Other family members in close contact with the infant are advised to check with their doctor whether they should get the vaccine.
Commonly known as shingles, this is a reactivated adult version of childhood chickenpox which can pass on to children who have not been immunised against chicken pox. Adults who are 60 or older should generally be vaccinated so check with your doctor to know what precautions to take.
Vaccines are an easy way to avoid contagious but preventable diseases from harming your baby. Make sure you consult with your doctor about what immunisations you and family members who stay with you need to be administered to ensure your household is not disrupted by potentially deadly diseases.