CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - It's National Infant Immunization Week, and a couple from Chicopee hopes to raise awareness about why adults also need to make sure their vaccines are up to date.
John Alcaide and Kathy Riffenburg's 2-month old son, Brady died in January after contracting whooping cough.
Kathy received a booster shot, but John never got one. The couple is still unsure how Brady contracted the infection.
"When we were in the hospital, I kept saying this isn't whooping cough, who gets whooping cough," said Kathy.
But the bacterial infection is highly contagious and can be fatal.
Dr. Barbara Stechenberg is the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Baystate Children's Hospital, and says the infection can oftentimes be contracted through an adult who has not been given a booster shot.
"One of the important things to know is most babies who develop whooping cough get it from an older child or an adult in the family," said Dr. Stechenberg.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 children under the age of 1 died from whooping cough in 2010.
Doctors say getting infants and adults immunized is critical to reducing the risk to babies. .
Although John and Kathy have been devastated by this preventable infection, they hope their story helps other families.
They have created a Facebook page called 'Brady's Cause'.
They would like parents to go to their page and pledge to get their booster shots so babies aren't at risk.
John and Kathy have also become regional advocates for two national organizations that promote vaccinations.
And, they're also participating in this year's March of Dimes Walk and have already raised $2,000.