You Can’t Blame Parents For Not Letting Unvaccinated People Near Their Babies

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Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures And Village Roadshow Pictures' "The Judge" - ArrivalsIn this month’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter, Kristen Bell admits that she will not let friends who haven’t had the whooping cough vaccine hold her infant. Considering she lives in California — a state that saw an epidemic last year – it’s probably a wise choice.

“When Lincoln was born [in March 2013], the whooping cough epidemic was growing, and before she was 2 months old, we simply said [to friends], ‘You have to get a whooping cough vaccination if you are going to hold our baby.” That is totally reasonable. In the U.S., an infant gets the DTaP vaccine — which combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) — at two months. Before that, an infant is vulnerable to the disease.

The CDC recommends that adults 19-64 get a one time whooping cough booster vaccine. I was given mine at my first child’s one week appointment, but new recommendations say that pregnant women can be given the vaccine in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. states that adults are the most common source of pertussis infection in infants and that “approximately half of infants less than one year of age who get pertussis are hospitalized.”

There’s enough to worry about when you are a new parent – why tack making your child vulnerable to an infectious disease to the list? Some may think this is paranoid, but if they do, they can opt to stay away. Nearly 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in California last year — that’s 1,000 more than the state’s last outbreak in 2010. Parents like Bell are right to be alarmed. It’s a quick and easy booster shot that everyone who is medically able to tolerate should get.

Frankly, you shouldn’t be around infants if you refuse to get a whooping cough booster. Most states offer free boosters of the vaccine, you just need to do a little research. And if that is too much for you, just visit the baby after he or she has been vaccinated. That’s a totally reasonable request.

(photos: Getty Images)