Hello fellow NICU nurses:
Mostly a lurker but used to post on here a lot a few years ago. Anyway I am wondering how your NICU handles vaccinations. As most of you are aware vaccinations have become a hot topic in the last few years. More and more parents are researching them and making more informed decisions instead of just assuming what the pedi. tells them to do is the best way.
In our unit the Neo's are wanting the babies to get their 1st hepatitis B at 30 days of age regardless of weight, condition, etc... If the kid is super sick (HFOV, drips, etc...) they probably would postpone it, but we have had lots of micropreemies still on SIMV or Bubble CPAP who haven't even reached the 1000 g mark and they are still wanting them to get their 1st Hep B shot. What's the rush? It just doesn't sit right with me. When you compare the babies up in the well baby nursery who weigh anywhere from 5 pounds and up and they get the same dose as a 1-1/2 pound baby it just doesn't seem right. We are so concerned about their neurological development in the NICU so we keep the lights low, the noise low, contain them, etc.... but we give them an immunization that I believe can have an effect are their still developing brains. Also we give the 2 month shots at 60 days which seems to be routine in most NICU's. I think most babies probably do fine with it, but I have seen many babies have setbacks after those 2 month shots. Some of these babies are still weeks from going home and just still seem too fragile to handle all these shots, but the Neo's insist it's just fine.
I used to not really give vaccinations a second thought, but lately it is really bothering me and I just don't see the point in giving these babies their shots so soon. Why can't they just wait until they leave the NICU and let the pedi. handle it when they feel the time is right. Like waiting until at least 2 months past their original due dates. I had a lengthy conversation with one of our Neo's about vaccinations and he even admitted that there were some vaccines that he didn't give his kids until they were at least 2. I know that the Neo's just follow the AAP guidelines and just want to keep these babies on the recommended schedule, but I don't think we are doing any of these babies any favors.
I am not necessarily anti vax, but I think we need to wait a little longer with some of the preemies in the NICU and not administer them in a 1 size fits all type of mentality.
Thoughts? Opinions? So how does your NICU handle vaccines?
Wow! I really rambled here. Didn't mean for this to be so long. Thanks for reading.