Aims With successes in the care of extremely low birth weight babies (less 1000 g) and new protocols of treatment for birth trauma/asphyxia, the survival of those babies increased. The vaccination is logical step in order to protect these infants from infections that can be fatal in their childhood.
When we meet parents 1 or 2 years after, during friendly visits to our neonatal unit, one fact we remarked (as neonatologist team who took care of these babies in NICU) that in the most cases those babies are not vaccinated.
We tried to identify if the reason to not vaccinate comes from parents or from their family physician/paediatrician.
Methods Retrospective evaluation of babys’ health situation and discussions with parents and family phisicians.
Were selected 26 infants, aged 1–1.9 months:
14 – term babies, born in mild/severe asphyxia or affected by haemolytic diseases at birth
12 – premature babies, 970–2200 g at birth.
Results In 2 cases (1- term, 1- preterm) – parents refused vaccination for non-medical reasons (religion, personal opinion).
In 5 cases (4- term, 1- preterm) – vaccination was performed according schedule.
19 babies – are still unvaccinated at age of 1.9 months:
10 babies were born prematurely – 83% in their subgroup;
9 term babies – 64% in their subgroup.
Among various reasons, considered by family physician or paediatrician as “contraindications” – iron-deficiency anaemia, elevated liver enzymes, “stuffy nose”, rhinitis, transitory allergic rashes, low baby weight, “let your baby grow and then vaccinate” and capillary hemangiomas. No parental refusal in this group noticed.
According vaccination schedule, these are not serious contraindications, but just “excuses”.
During first years of life 78% of those babies had respiratory infections (in smears K. pneumoniae and H. influenza), 85% diarrhoea (no smears taken).
Conclusion In our case, the reason not to vaccinate is related more to some physician’s reticence or ignorance of the correct information about vaccination, than to parents refusal.
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