West Texas VA Health Care System
Immunizations Contribute to Good Health
Everyone in a baby’s life needs to get vaccinated against whooping cough and flu!
What is cocooning?
- Babies younger than 6 months are more likely to develop certain infectious diseases than older children. Cocooning is a way to protect babies from catching diseases from people around them – people like their parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, child-care providers, babysitters and healthcare providers. Once these people are vaccinated, they are less likely to spread theses contagious diseases to the baby. They surround the baby with a cocoon of protection against the disease until he or she is old enough to get all the doses of the vaccine needed to be fully protected.
Why is cocooning important?
- Babies less than 6 months old are too young to have received all the doses of the vaccine that are needed to protect them from whooping cough (pertussis), flu (influenza), and other dangerous diseases. To be fully protected, babies need to get ALL the vaccine doses in a series – not just the first dose.
- Unvaccinated adults and family members, including parents are often the ones who unknowingly spread dangerous diseases to babies.
- Currently, towns and cities across the nation have had whooping cough outbreaks. Influenza outbreaks happen every year.
How can we protect babies?
- Everyone has the opportunity to protect babies by getting vaccinated themselves. Cocooning is an easy and effective way that people can work together to prevent the spread of whooping cough and flu to babies.
How can we protect babies against whooping cough?
- All children should be vaccinated on schedule with DTaP (the childhood whooping cough vaccine).
- All teenagers and adults need a one-time dose of Tdap vaccine (the teen and adult whooping cough vaccine)
- Pregnant women should receive a Tdap vaccination in each pregnancy, preferably during the 3rd trimester. This will protect the pregnant woman as well as her baby!
How can we protect babies against the flu?
- Everyone age 6 months and older needs to receive the flu vaccine.
Remember that all WTVAHCS Staff and Veterans receive the flu vaccine free! Employees can get the flu shot in Room 1 of the VA in Employee Health or extension 5373. You may also request a Tdap from Employee Health.