Mom’s Vaccine Story Will Make You Think Twice About the Tdap Vaccine
One of the hard parts about vaccines, especially when you're pregnant, is that it can be hard to fathom the unknown or the fact that your baby might get sick because of you. After all, you're healthy, you feel fine, and you would do anything to keep your baby safe, so the thought that you might pass on a sickness like whooping cough to your baby almost seems absurd.
And that's exactly what an Australian new mother named Cormit Avital thought. In a video that has now gone viral, Avital shared that when she was offered the whooping cough vaccine at 28 weeks pregnant, she pretty much scoffed at the idea of injecting a vaccine into her “fit” and “healthy” body.
But when she unknowingly ended up passing on whooping cough to her brand-new baby girl, she realized that she had been horribly wrong. Her daughter ended up sick, like “something out of a horror movie” the mom described, and was hospitalized in the NICU for weeks. She made the video to urge other mothers, parents, and caregivers to get vaccinated before it was too late.
The video is a moving one and it definitely pulled at my mama guilt, because I actually turned down the Tdap vaccine for my last pregnancy for the same reason she did–I felt fine and, to be honest, I didn't want an unnecessary poke. (I did receive it with my third baby, however.) But the video is also one highlighting a still apparently raging war among those who want vaccines for all and those who believe vaccines are a personal choice. And things are getting intense. For example, a bill in Ontario is being proposed that would force anyone who declines vaccines to go through an education class to help inform them exactly what impact their choice could make. Many are presenting the bill as a no-brainer for those “uneducated” people who are against vaccines, but I don't think it's always that simple.
Personally, I don't think adhering to stereotypes helps anyone. Education about vaccines is important and nothing in life is without risk or side effects, so I think it's every parent's right to fully understand vaccines before administering them (or I guess allowing someone else to administer the vaccines). I hate how the “debate” has become so polarizing when it can really be looked at a lot more practically.
The problem, however, is that parents all want to protect our children first, because that's what parents do and it's hard to separate that kind of emotion out, just like Avital's story shows. It's hard when a baby gets so sick and it's hard to know what's best to protect them, but the best we can do is stay informed and make educated decisions for our families. Also, if you're a mom who had the Tdap vaccine with your last pregnancy, you should know that the guidelines have changed and the CDC recommends that women receive the vaccine with each and every pregnancy now.
Did you get the Tdap vaccine when you were pregnant?