ROCKWALL, TEXAS—The Gee family. Brandon, Devan, Saryn and mom Missy. The kids have all had the vaccine Prevnar. Five years ago Texas made it a requirement for kids entering daycare and preschool. Missy says she's thankful because the kids are sick less often which is also good for grandma.
"My grandmother has always lived about five, then minutes from our house and she's always over for the holidays, she's older, in her late 80's and she never got sick from being around us and I really think the vaccinations helped to prevent that." Says Missy.
Dr. Gregory Sonnen is a Pediatrician at Pediatric & Adolescent Specialists in Rockwall. Dr. Sonnen says it's not Missy's imagination. Scientists studied illness patterns for eleven years, ending in 2006 and found that infections in older adults jumped during the holidays before the vaccine was made available.
"You know, these younger children, these two, three, four year olds, they sometimes don't have good hygiene habits and they sneeze and cough without covering and things spread." Says Dr. Sonnen.
Dr. Sonnen says crowded airplanes and airports are common during the holidays, not to mention families gathering to spread good cheer and strep bacteria, including meningitis and pneumonia.
"And a phenomenon that has been noted is that these kids go travel to grandmas house and after the holidays we see a big swing in these type of pneumonia grandparents because of the transfer of this particular bacteria." Says. Dr. Sonnen.
Since 2000 infections are down and Missy says that's good for the her kids and her grandmother
"You know I always worried about that because she was so much older, but she as never gotten bad respiratory infections or caught anything yucky that we had. So it always works out pretty good I guess."
The next generation of Prevnar is expected to be approved and on the market early next year.