Vaccines and Newborn

Updated on January 27, 2013
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
32 answers

I have an issue I am feeling very conflicted about and need some different perspectives. I want to say upfront, however, that I don't want to have a discussion on science, what's true or anything else involved in the "vaccine" debate. Instead, my question is this: I am the leader of a HS co-op that has one member that does not vaccinate. Yesterday she asked us to let her know when our children have vaccines so we don't put her child at risk. I am due with a baby in less than 5 weeks, and we will be having co-op during my newborns first few months when she is not protected. Hubby and I, and my parents, are all up to date on our Tdap --since there has been an outbreak in the Chicago area- and my kids are up to date on their shots. My plan for co-op was to just keep baby on my body and not let anyone touch her --including my kids, until they have thoroughly washed. My hubby wants the un-vaccinated child booted off the Island. Hubby has a degree in biology, and he gets this stuff better than I do. He is worried about our other children being carriers and contaminating our home and then getting the newborn sick. A very close childhood friend's baby suffered braindamage from RSV, so the risks can be high here.

My daughter is friends with this unvaccinated child. She is invited to my daughter's bday party, they pal around together. I am fine with this. I am also not a mom who keeps her newborns at home. We usually venture out into the world by day 5. I am not opposed to taking on some risk, but because this mother from co-op insists that we tell her when our kids have vaccines, my defenses are up. I want to ask her, "and what are you going to do to make sure my newborn doesn't get sick," especially when kids can walk around and be contagious for 3-5 days before they even show symptoms.

It has now become an issue of sorts, and I'm not sure how to respond. I don't want to have a discussion with this person about our beliefs, etc. and if she didn't bring any of this up, I was just going to try my hardest to keep my kids and other kids away from the baby. But she is basically saying that if we don't tell her when our kids have vaccines, she will leave the group. This really gets under my skin since she I then feel the need to protect my newborn from her unvaccinated child --a child that hasn't had chickenpox or measles or any other serious illness yet.

Suggestions on how to handle this?

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So What Happened?

Vaccine shedding can happen, very rarely, in cases where there is a compromised immune system. What this means is that someone who just had a live vaccine can shed (through bodily fluids) the virus and infect others.

Just how rare is this? 5 in 55 million cases in terms of chicken pox.

So, she wants to know if our kids have had a live vaccine in case they are part of the ONE PERCENT who can shed. So 1 percent of those who get vaccines can shed, and then only those with compromised immune systems that are in contact with bodily fluids have a chance at getting the virus.

UPDATE: She has decided to leave the group! I'm a bit sad about it, and I know my daughter will be very upset. I'm just shocked that the anti-vac community has decided to turn things on its head because there is no science on their side! Now we put them at risk! Crazy stuff.

Featured Answers



answers from Fargo on

Let her leave the group. She has the right to not vaccinate and you have the right to vaccinate and you ALSO have the right to keep that information private.

*I just want to say that Ina G.'s answer is incredibly intelligent and well worded. A thousand flowers to her!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Tell her to leave the group then. That is the most selfish sh*t I have ever heard. If she does not want to vaccinate, that is her choice, BUT she gets to deal with the consequences, not you. Bye bye!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

What Christie Lee said :) Have her kid wash her hands if she wants to play with the baby. It's not everyone elses job to protect her children from diseases. And how is a vaccine some other child gets going to give the disease to her child? UGH! If she doesn't like it, she can leave the group and find one where they all don't vaccinate.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

Here's how you handle it:

Get your baby vaccinated. Breastfeed so baby is protected by your antibodies.

Refuse to tell her when baby is vaccinated. It's none of her dang business. A child recently vaccinated with non-live virus vaccine cannot get anyone else sick. She's been brainwashed by reading too much Dr. Mercola. Dtap doesn't shed. It's not live-virus.

If she leaves? Big whoop-de-doo. She won't be there for her child to spread diseases anymore. Sounds like an improvement. I agree with your (smart) hubby.

ETA: Also, if she flies off the handle about it, I'd make it clear that if she wants her child protected, she should have her vaccinated instead of expecting everyone else to protect her child through THEIR vaccinations. What a selfish little snot. I'm sorry, but I know I wouldn't be able to keep quiet in response to her ridiculous demands.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Tell her you refuse to inform her and let her leave the co-op. You should not let your newborn or children anywhere near this woman and her family until your baby can be vaccinated for pertussis.

I am astounded at the temerity she has to ask you to tell her when your kids get vaccinated, as if you are putting her family at risk. You are protecting your kids and her kids, while she sits there putting everyone else at risk. Ugh. Please please "let her" (or arrange for her) to leave the group.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Factually, scientifically, a vaccinated child does not put an unvaccinated child at risk. An unvaccinated child puts an infant at risk.

Psychologically, inerpersonally, this mom sounds manipulative and like she's more invested in her own unfounded, eccentric beliefs than in other children's safety.

So, I think you have two good reasons to put some serious distance between your family and hers.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Okay I am still hung up on the "don't put her child at risk" comment. Err, she is putting her child at risk, but whatever, not the question, right?

Oh wait, it came back up. :)

Okay so she is putting your child at risk because the baby is a newborn but will leave the group of you don't tell her what she wants to know? I would say keep your mouth shut and this will all sort itself out. Okay, really, I would at the don't let the door hit ya in the butt but I am rude like that. :p

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

uggh. So let me get this straight, she doesn't vaccinate her child (whatever) but wants to be sure all of yours are so her child is protected? That is VERY nervy. Your child's vaccination schedule is your business - you have no obligation to inform her. If anything, she has a greater obligation to you since she's chosen not to immunize her child. I'm not sure ofthe approach unless she brings it up again and asks. Then I would say something like "you know, the federal law referred to as HIPAA guarantees privacy regarding any health affairs. I really can't suggest or require any of the parents to release this private information. From what I understand all of the parent here follow the standard immunization schedule that's set up by the American Academy of Pediatrics (or whatever group you want to use). If it's soemthing you're going to insist on you should understand that parents may, in turn, insist that all members kids are immunized. I don't know how far you want to take it - but that's really up to you. I serve to communicate between the members and I don't take a position" If she wants to drop out - that's fine. Maybe she can find a co-op group of kids, none of whom immunize. Oh yeah, she won't do that since her child won't be protected. Nice luxury to depend on the responsibility of others to protect your child.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have changed my answer-- let her leave the group. This drama isn't worth it.

ETA: As much as your kid likes her kid, I suspect that this is only the beginning of a relationship you likely won't want to have several years down the road. This mom sounds very "off".

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

ETA: Ya know, the woman would have to ask, EVERYONE EVERYWHERE, about their vaccines. That is impossible. She can't expect everyone everywhere, everywhere she goes, to answer this question.
Not only, your co-op, group.

The group or Co-Op... as a whole, should decide about this?
Since they are an organized, organization.

I can understand you and your Husband's feelings on this.

In my State, there was a baby that died, from Pertussis. A 6 month old baby. Which was not, vaccinated. Prior to their baby dying, the parents were against vaccinations. And went that route. Their baby got sick, it turned out to be Pertussis. And the baby died. The baby got it from a relative. Who thought she just had a regular cold. Now that their baby died, the parents are advocates, of getting vaccinated. And for getting, Booster shots for Pertussis, in teens and adults.

You should not, if you can, get into a long personal heated conversational debate about this, with her.
If she tries to, that is.
Don't argue with her, if she goes that route.
Just keep telling her it is a personal choice.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

Wow...that would tweak me! I would let her know since there is no vaccination requirement to be in co-op, that medical information isn't to be shared by anyone. Obviously if a child (or adult) is sick, they are asked to stay home...but apart from that you aren't required to divulge any more. If she is uncomfortable with her kids being around vaccinated children, then she can make the decision to leave. (Do her kids goto school or is she going to pull them out of there too?)

Her children are at much greater risk of catching the freaking flu from the playground or grocery store than they are of catching anything from vaccine shedding. Woman sounds crazy.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Regardless of where you stand on vaccines (pro or con), you have to admit that those that are vaccinated provide herd immunity to those that don't so you know they obviously work. Those that don't vaccinate run the risk of exposing their kids to anyone and everything when they go to the store, movies, doctor's offices, or anywhere. That further exposes others that aren't vaccinated including those that are too young or with health conditions that can not get vaccinated. I find it ironic and a bit disturbing that she doesn't mind exposing your baby and others to her unvaccinated child but has no problem refusing to allow her child to be around others that aren't vaccinated.

I would tell her that your baby will not be vaccinated until she is at least xxx (whatever age she can be and you plan to have it done) and until that time you can not have her exposed to anyone that has not been vaccinated.

She has the right to not vaccinate her child (which IMO is crazy) but that doesn't give her the right to basically insist that you vaccinate or tell her when you have. What would she do if you or others didn't vaccinate your children? Does she think only she has the right to decide?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Huh? I honestly don't understand her reasoning? Why is she asking to know when others kids are vaccinated? I completely don't get it. How would other people's vaccines effect her in any way?

In my extended family there are equal parts vaccinated and non-vaccinated kids. Nobody talks about it. Many are grown now and didn't get vaccinated until before missionary trips etc at older high school ages. Many don't vaccinate their kids, and it's never brought up.

Newborn infants don't need vaccines. A breast-fed child on your chest is not going to get sick. YES, we can all find stories where someone did, but it's sooooo rare. Much more rare than vaccination complications. The main reason doctors have newborn babies vaccinated is to protect the herd because they know mother's are most diligent with appointments with newborns. Even many people who are pro vaccine admit it's safest to wait for the 2 year mark if you read all the info available on the quantity of vaccines vs frailty of infancy vs the unknowns and ominous vaccine results in many scenarios. And many of the vaccines aren't even needed in older kids, so you can give less by waiting until school age. My oldest was vaccinated for chicken pox but still got them at 18 months when we were in Paris. Who cares about Chicken Pox anyway? ...not me...I wish my other two would get them, but now we're here in one of the only countries that vaccinates for it so they probably won't...anyway.

This lady bringing it up at all and then asking others to divulge their vaccinating....I seriously don't get her logic. I'd stay away. Not because her child is unvaccinated, but just because she seems sort of weird and manipulative. And if she's nice, just let it go and ignore her oddness.

**** She's afraid of the 1% who can shed onto rare compromised kids by spitting in their mouths? But she's not afraid of being un-vaccinated? That's a straight-up WEIRD lady. Most people I know who do not vaccinate choose that course because they do not fear the illnesses we vaccinate for and they believe their bodies are better off fighting things than being vaccinated for them....also, most of the diseases are easily treatable if you live in America. I've had three friends with vaccinated kids get whooping cough, and one with an un-vaccinated kid who got it. No one died. Measles? Who cares. People don't die of that anymore unless there are other POINT is..she sounds a little too frightened of everything to be unvaccinated..again: Weird lady.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I wouldn't take chances, and I agree with your husband. Especially now during flu season, and with pertussis making a big comeback - don't mess around with this. I would certainly keep the newborn away from the unvaccinated kids (and any kids with runny noses, coughs, etc) until the baby has had her vaccines. In college, I worked at a daycare where several of the families didn't vaccinate, and one winter there was a pertussis outbreak - it was terrifying. These kids were preschool-aged, but it was horrible to watch their lips turn blue as they gasped for breath. A few times we had to call 911. There's no doubt in my mind that a newborn couldn't survive pertussis.

I guess I don't understand why this woman wants to know when YOUR kids have had their vaccines, and is being so militant about it. What in the world difference does that make to her kids (other than providing herd immunity for her unvaccinated kids, for which she should be thanking you). I would say that your kids' vaccine schedules are none of her business, as a vaccinated child poses no danger to anyone, and if she gets in a huff about that, then good riddance to her.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

do you really like this mom... and does your child really like her child?? if not.. sounds like your coop would be better off without her.

Her unvaccinated kids are more of a risk to your vaccinated kids.. than the other way around... the thing is if she had just kept quiet about this issue you would never know her kdis were not vaccinated...

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I almost have a degree in life sciences (I graduate this summer), so I feel somewhat qualified to address your husbands concerns.
I sincerely doubt that this child in your older kid's pre-school puts your infant at any larger risk for contracting an infection, as long as you practice common sense hygiene. Even though theyre is a lot of media hype around this most cases are that unvaccinated kids infected their own unvaccinaed siblings or kids that were vaccinated and their immunity had worn off. Opposed to popular opinion vaccines are not 100% effective and we know know that many wear off much sooner than thought. In WA most pertussis cases were actually in vaccinated middle school kids... and we also had many parent to infant transmissions.

Obviously the easiest way to protect your baby is to not take her to playgroups. If you have to take her do not let anyone touch her... just keep her all couped up in her carseat or stroller, blanket over her, done. It it's at your home just ask people to respect your postpartum period and skip sessions at your house or find another place for the first couple of months. I do not think that that is an unreasonable request.
Anyone, including you, should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your baby. It really is relatively simple.

Young infants are at higher risk for infection because of their immature immune system, but honestly they can pick up that infection ANYWHERE. Your husband could pick up pertussis or the flu at the supermarket and transmit it to your child... you could pick up chickenpox or RSV at the pediatrician's office and transmit it... and even if all kids where 100% vaccinated, there is still no guarantee. Heck we had a case where a fully vaccinated nurse contracted pertussis and spread it to 3 of his patients in a local hospital...
Nursing your baby and making sure that you and your husband are up to date on vaccines will give her some protection as well. Honestly in my opinion public door handles, shopping carts the guy showing up to work sick and keyboards at your workplace are probably more of a danger than the one unvaccinated child.

I am pro vaccines, my DD is vaccinated, but I am also for individuals having the right to make their own healthcare decisions.
It sounds to me like this mom wants you know when your kids have had shots, because she is afraid that her kids may catch a bug from the shots. This was very common 30+ years ago, particularly children and adults contracting polio, when they still used live attenuated viruses in vaccinations. Today most vaccines are just dead virus components (with the exception of flu-mist) and it is pretty much impossible to transmit the actual disease.

I think it's normal to feel anxious about it, particularly with the media hype going on - but I would suggest that you do not need to let fear ruin your friendship with this family.
Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Quite frankly, you all should have discussed this issue prior to starting the co-op. I would not have allowed my children to be in a daycare if they did not require children to have their shots, so I wouldn't have joined a co-op that didn't require it. I agree with your husband. Except she shouldn't have been allowed to "join the island" in the first place.

The group as a whole needs to address the issue if you want to change the rules. Look, it's YOUR baby who is at risk. She uses other children's vaccines as an excuse to justify not having her own child vaccinated. If you decide to not push the point about her being in the group, don't let her bully YOU regarding your child's shots. Sure, it's fine to say "Molly's shots are tomorrow." (Your own child, not the other's. They don't have to share that info.) But don't take any guff off of her and don't allow her to tell you what you can and can't do. You should not have to change ONE THING in order to accomodate her. I mean it. Tell her if she doesn't like it, she can keep her child home.

Maybe she'll decide to leave the group herself.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My families vaccine schedule is the business of my doctor, myself (our family), and we have to show proof of vaccines when registering for school.
It's no one else s business to know and I would not disclose the information.
The nurse at my son's school (middle school) sent a letter around asking for people to inform her if certain diseases we're going around in an effort to protect some student with a weakened health situation.
We did not co-operate and there were many complaints about health information privacy issues.
If I were in your place, I'd tell her that you do not feel comfortable revealing personal family health information with anyone who is not your doctor and so you will not be honoring her request.
She's free to leave if she wants to.
HIPPA might not exactly apply in this situation, but health information is protected for a reason and I'm not going to disclose it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

A vaccinated child can put an unvaccinated child at risk after recieving live virus vaccines, however the risk is very small. That being said, I don't think she has the right to demand everyone inform her if their child has just been vaccinated. Unless this coop is the ONLY place she ever takes her children, they could just as easily be exposed at the park, at the zoo, at the library, etc. Now, the the SAME goes for your newborn. The baby can be exposed where ever you take him/her. Breastfeeding is is your best defense and staying away from crowds for a few weeks - until the end of cold/flu season. And the statistical risk of coming down with a vaccine preventable illness for EITHER of your kids is still minute. I mean, 87% of kids that come down with whooping cough ARE vaccinated, so both of your kids put the other ones at risk - although still a very small chance of anyone catching anything.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

ummmm, why don't people vaccinate their kids? this, i will never understand, no matter how many times i hear the "reasoning". i choose to believe in science. i think you are in the right, and so is your newborn!
good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would just let it go. I mean really, your kids and newborn, vaxed kids and unvaxed kids are everywhere! Kids who are vaxed can still get sick and get your kids sick. The same goes for unvaxed kids. Just because you are vaxed does not meant that you will not get the disease. You can not keep her out of the homeschool group just because of that too. Most kids who are not vaxed are MUCH healthier than kids who are.
I do not vax my kids, but I would not ask someone to tell me when their kids get their vaccinations. That is a little weird

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Do not tell her anything. If she is uncomfortable with her decision, so be it. She has to live with it.

I am very cautious not to have the baby out much the first two months, until the shots start. A friend's baby almost died from pertussis, which is more common these days.

After that, I don't worry so much. I would say you have the right to protect your baby from anyone, and you have no obligation to tell another mother your child's medical history or shots. If someone chooses to vaccinate (or not) that is his/her business. End of story. You have no pressure to tell someone else this information, just the pressure to protect your child.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I wish I had some advice but this is a tricky situation. You need to do what is best for your baby, but if you are not delicate in how you approach it you and your daughter may lose a friend. Since she is open about not wanting her child around recently vaccinated children I don't think you would be completely out of line being open with her about wanting to limit contact until your new baby is old enough to be vaccinated. But over all, if everyone is in good health, there should not be huge reason for concern.

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answers from Chicago on

She has it all backwards. Does she think that your vaccinated children are going to chase her un-vac'd child around with a syringe and pump them full of dreaded vaccines? You are right to be concerned about your newborn. In fact, 2 years ago I was wondering the same thing and ended up opting out of play sessions with our playgroup until my baby was 6 mos (because 1 of the families don't vaccinate). I am so happy that I did avoid that time with them, as 2 of their un-vaccinated kids did get whooping cough.

I would just politely tell her that you respect her feelings on the issue, although you don't agree with her reasoning. Sure, tell her when your kids get their vaccines. But, really, I'd be much more concerned that her kids could infect yours. Good luck--such a touchy subject for so many people.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I vote she starts her very own unvaccinated Co-op, because her ability to reason as to what is really a threat versus not, is very skewed and your will never make any headway with someone who believes such distorted facts.

Vaccine shedding is unbelievably so rare that I might possibly consider that sort of request if her child was severely auto-immune compromised.

Perhaps you should just tell her when you have a live virus vaccine, of which I don't know which ones are, so you'd have to ask your nurses, or look it up. On second thought, you should have HER look up which vaccines are live versus dead. I thought all the baby vaccinations were dead anyhow, so I would not be bothered by not respecting her request. Does that make sense?

Sorry you have to deal with control nut with the birth of your new baby. Have a lot of fun with your family!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

As far as you sharing information regarding vaccines with other parents, you should check as I would think it is illegal.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

She sounds like a PIA and it's clear that you don't care for her as much as your daughter likes her daughter.

I don't get involved or worked up over a PIA, get rid of her. Take a vote with everyone else or just tell her you will not disclose your vaccine schedule.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Boot her off the island! I am totally with your husband on this one.

~In the very least, asking her for special help in protecting your newborn until he/she can be properly and fully protected by the vaccines, is and should be easy...since she has no problem asking you for help by letting her know when others get their vaccines.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I would wonder how she keeps her kids away from recently vaccinated children at the park, parties or other gatherings. Does she go around asking everyone her kid might touch if their children have been recently vaccinated?

I know a few no-vaccine families and I have NEVER heard of concerns about "shedding". Totally weird and dramatic in my opinion. Something tells me this will not be the last instance of narcissistic behavior from her so I'd just play it really straight forward and say something like...

"I think we all respect your right to care for your kid in the way you see fit. I too need to make those choices for my kids. Since you are concerned about shedding I'm sure you'll understand that I am concerned about having non-vaccinated kids in very close proximity to my unprotected newborn. The recent outbreak of whooping cough was so severe and widespread that we just don't feel comfortable taking that risk. Just as you would remove your child from our company after a recent vaccination we ask you to avoid our newborn until he/she is protected."

I also disagree about sharing the vaccination info concerning kids in the group with her. I would share it every single time. In fact, if she continues to be so self centered, I might even schedule "convenient" vaccination appointments. If it fits into a kids schedule and you're going to do it anyway why not do it right before the next coop meeting? She may need to miss a few meetings, right;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

That request is crazy. Like someone said, does she keep her child out of stores, movie theaters, dance class, school in general? My kids have gotten boosters throughout the school year. If I was that lady's friend, would she then keep her kid out of school for 3 days because I vaccinated my kid?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Due to shedding and temporarily weakened immune systems, recently vaccinated children pose more of a danger than an unvaccinated one. The unvaccinated kids I know seem to have much stronger immune systems and are never sick! You're statistically more likely to have a vaccine injury than to ever contract some of the diseases we vaccinate against. Much more information at if you're interested in learning more. It's not true that only people with comprised immune systems shed. People with compromised immune systems are more likely to suffer symptoms of the disease they were vaccinated for.

We can all only make the best decisions for our own families and respect others decisions as well. You can't avoid unvaccinated or vaccinated children or people with diseases, they're everywhere. Exposure to germs helps to develop immune system responses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

She asked to notified, so notify her.... by e-mail so you don't have to go into a long discussion about it. That way she won't bring her children around yours while the vaccination takes affect. Both of you have what you want - no contact.

1 mom found this helpful
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