Should I get vaccinated before visiting a newborn?
When a baby arrives in the family, everyone wants to see the newcomer immediately. The first visit, even in ’peacetime’, requires special attention and caution, but it’s even more true at this time of the pandemic.
Here are some aspects to consider before signing up for a baby visit. As yes, it is not appropriate to set it up without notice, the basic courtesy is valid even in Covid times ...
Unsurprisingly, the Covid pandemic does not put a stop babies being born and also unsurprisingly friends and relatives would like to see the baby as soon as possible. In these unprecedented times, a lot more needs to be considered before we rush to visit the baby loaded with gifts. By no means do I want to discourage anyone from visiting, as visits are also essential for the mental health of new mums and dads.
Let’s take a look at the most important things to consider before visiting a baby!
A newborn is prone to infections
Let’s remember from our biology studies: we come into the world with an immature immune system leaving us vulnerable to infections for some months after birth. Protection begins to be strengthened when maternal antibodies are coming in breast milk. We do not yet have clear evidence that this is also true for protection against coronavirus in case of infected or vaccinated women’s newborns. However, there is potential evidence that Covid does not provide an exception for infections against which maternal antibodies provide some protection.
It is important to mention that maternal antibodies are not the only mean of protection against the most common childhood infections. Protection can also be provided by vaccination, however, there is no vaccine against Covid that can be given to newborns – although research is underway.
Unfortunately, even after a year into the pandemic, we do not know as much about the virus as we would like to. Undoubtedly, the vaccine provides very good protection against the symptoms, especially in the case of severe ones, but still a lot of questions remain whether vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus to unvaccinated ones without themselves becoming ill.
It is certain that as the number of vaccinated adults increase, the interactions between them will gradually become safer, but this is not necessarily the case for newborns and young children.
In this context, it should be remembered and cannot be stressed enough that protection against coronavirus does not start at the time of the first dose. Full protection develops around the end of the first week after the second dose was given (in case of two-dose vaccines).
Scientists emphasize that even those who have already been given the vaccine must follow the rules (wearing mask, regular hand washing, social distancing, staying home in case of symptoms etc.).
Back to the topic of the article, the risks of visiting newborns can be significantly reduced if new parents limit the number of visitors politely but at the same time with sufficient determination and consistency, especially in the first months of a baby’s life.
“Until the pandemic is over, parents can do the most by taking extra care until the baby gets a little bit older, and immune system gets a little bit stronger. If you insist having visitors ask them to vaccinate themselves, wear a mask properly, and maintain a safe distance”
– recommends a pediatrician.
Written by Dr Ildiko Simonfalvi
consultant radiologist, health specialist translator and health specialist journalist
This content does not act for formal medical recommendation or health care visit.