The poll, however, found broad support for parents to insist their newborns aren’t exposed to those who might not be current on their pertussis vaccine.
The majority of adults polled—72 percent—strongly agree or agree that parents have the right to insist that visitors receive the pertussis vaccine before visiting a newborn baby in the hospital. Nearly two-thirds—61 percent—of adults strongly agree or agree that parents should make sure all adults receive the pertussis vaccine before visiting a newborn baby at home.
Pertussis vaccines are recommended for teens and adults (known as the “Tdap” vaccine), including pregnant women. Boosting immunity against pertussis among teens and adults is especially important for protecting newborns against the disease. Most infants who fall sick with pertussis got the illness from an older child or adult with pertussis.
“Welcoming a baby to the family is a wonderful time, and no one would want to put an infant at risk,” Davis says. “So the results of this poll are encouraging because they indicate some awareness that visitors need to be protected against this disease.”
“Teens and adults who have received the Tdap vaccine are less likely to get whooping cough themselves,” Davis says. “And therefore less likely to spread whooping cough to other people—including infants who have not yet been protected by the recommended pertussis vaccinations.”
The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health—based at the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan and funded by the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and the University of Michigan Health System—is designed to measure major health care issues and trends for U.S. children.