Today there is such a debate over whether to vaccinate or not. I have read almost everything I could get my hands on. One thing that I can say for certainty is that vaccines have NOT been proven to cause autism. So first time moms don't be scared of vaccines because of that. Other factors are now being considered including mother's age.
What is important is to really take time to research each vaccine and decide if it is worth getting or not. I spent the time and decided that my kids will get their vaccines except flu and HPV. My youngest still hasn't gotten her vaccine for chickenpox and may never, I haven't decided yet.
When you start doing the research and trying to make decision on whether or not to vaccine you need to think not only of your child but also those they may come in contact with.
When my middle daughter was three months old she started getting what I thought was just a cold. She started coughing more than I was comfortable with which sent us to see the nurse practitioner. She sent us home saying she was fine.
By that night her coughing had gotten much worse. It had both my husband and I scared for her. We headed to the ER around midnight. After being there for a few hours, a chest x-ray, a call to a pediatrician, and other tests that were sent out to Mayo, we were sent home.
The next day she was put on medication for suspected whooping cough. The test came back a few days later as positive. The next week was spent getting everyone in to the doctor and through a round of antibiotics and fielding phone calls from Infectious Disease.
We were very grateful that she had a more mild case, but the next four months were filled a long road to recovery. It took four long months for her coughing to go away. Four months before she could sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time because she was woken up with a coughing spell. Four months before I could be in a different room than her and not have to run and help her through a coughing spell. Constant ear infections until she had tubes put in just before her second birthday. Little speech until that point resulting in speech therapy.
Our little one had her first Dtap vaccine at 2 months. It only protects at about 70%. I believe that the vaccine is what made her case more mild. The one vaccine that I believe everyone needs to consider is the Dtap. My baby had health problems since she was three months old because someone she came in contact with had whooping cough. Adults and kids need to get vaccinated to protect others.
Other parents aren't so lucky. Whooping cough/Pertussis is highly contagious up to 10 days before the coughing starts. It can also be very deadly for infants and those with health problems. Vaccinations aren't just about your child but others around them.
I encourage you to read another story about a family that had to deal with pertussis http://shotbyshot.org/pertussis/bradys-story/.