All newborn babies receive antibodies from the mother against infectious diseases. Because the mother often has not gone through all the diseases herself (and therefore has not developed any antibodies for all diseases), these antibodies do not offer protection against all infectious diseases. Some antibodies do not pass from mother to child.
Babies get their first vaccination at the age of 2 months. This is because by the time the baby is 2 to 3 months old, the antibodies have disappeared. Infants born prematurely lack some of the antibodies because they are built up mainly at the end of pregnancy.
Antibodies and vaccination
Vaccination helps the immune system of a child. It ensures that the body of the child produces antibodies and immune cells in a controlled way against the foreign agents. The body does this when a child gets the real disease, but the risks are much greater. In the case of a naturally occurring infection, we have to wait and see how serious the infection is and what consequences it will have. Whooping cough, for example, is a devastating battle for children and some children do not survive the disease.
Sometimes it may be necessary to administer ready-to-use antibodies, for example if there is a high chance that the baby is still insufficiently protected against infection. Babies born to mothers who are carriers of hepatitis B virus will therefore receive immunoglobulins after birth. These antibodies are a supplement to the vaccination, not a replacement. Immunoglobulins have a short term effect
There may be circumstances where a vaccination must be postponed. Some examples are:
Sometimes it is very important for children with a serious illness to get their vaccinations on time, for example children with diseases such as cystic fibrosis, heart defects or diabetes. It is possible that these children will have more complications from the diseases against which they are vaccinated.
No reasons to postpone a vaccination are: the use of antibiotics, hypersensitivity to egg and premature births. When in doubt, always contact your doctor. The decision whether or not a vaccination is given is always taken only after the child has been examined by the doctor.
Diseases against which babies are vaccinated: