Cedars-Sinai Blog

New Parents and Grandparents—Which Vaccines Do You Need?

A young boy shoots a selfie with his family in the background.

All these people want to meet your newborn—have they gotten the necessary vaccinations to protect your baby?

Diapers, baby clothes, the crib. All of these are essentials on every expectant parent's checklist.

What might be forgotten in the anticipation of a newborn is one of the most important items: vaccines for the parents, grandparents, and anyone else in the family who plans to spend time with the new bundle of joy.

To sort out which vaccines to get—and when—we talked to pediatrician Dr. Santhosh Nadipuram.

Which vaccines do you recommend for patients planning on starting a family?

First, aspiring parents should be up-to-date on all their childhood vaccines.

Rubella is one of the most important for a mother who wishes to become pregnant, because congenital rubella infection can cause many problems with a growing baby. This vaccine should be given before getting pregnant, as it is a live-virus vaccine and shouldn’t be given to pregnant women.

"The antibodies generated by the flu shot will also circulate to the baby during pregnancy and protect the baby in early life."

Which vaccines do you recommend during pregnancy?

The second vaccine is pertussis (whooping cough), which comes with tetanus and diphtheria vaccines in a formulation called Tdap.

This vaccine should be given in the 3rd trimester to a pregnant mother in order to protect mom and generate antibodies which will circulate to the growing baby.

Whooping cough is a very dangerous infection for a young baby because children under the age of 3 months are most vulnerable to death from this illness.

As with the flu, when little babies become very sick with whooping cough, we have a limited number of treatments to get them better—and they can be invasive. We have had outbreaks of pertussis here in California which resulted in many hospitalizations and infant deaths.

Do you recommend these same vaccines for grandparents and other family members who will be in close contact with the newborn?

What do you suggest expecting parents do if family members are hesitant—or outright refuse—to get vaccinated?