Sarah Michelle Gellar On Pertussis Vaccine, Motherhood “Easier” Second Time Around

Actress and mother-of-two Sarah Michelle Gellar is joining March of Dimes and the Sounds of Pertussis campaign to help raise awareness about pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and the importance of vaccinating the entire family.

SMG opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about family life with husband Freddie Prinze, Jr. and their two kids – daughter Charlotte, 3, and 8-month-old son Rocky. She goes on to talk about the “honor” of being named our ‘favorite celebrity mom’ in the Readers’ Choice Awards, being in “heaven” with her sweet son, and their upcoming Father’s Day plans.

CBS: Tell us about teaming up with March of Dimes and the Sounds of Pertussis campaign.

SMG: “It’s something that I did for my children and for myself. The Sounds of Pertussis has a partnership with the March of Dimes, and they’re trying to get people to understand that it’s not just babies that carry pertussis. It can be the adults that give it to them.

When you hear the statistics, it’s staggering. When they trace back to where these young infants are getting it from – which can be potentially fatal – 80% of the time it was given to them by a family member, and 50% of the time by the parents.

As any new parent will tell you, the greatest fear is a newborn getting sick. Could you imagine if you were the one that did it?

The best way to help prevent this is to vaccinate yourself and your children against it. So I’m happy to spread the word.

As an adult, you should be getting the vaccine every 5 to 10 years. And it’s really cool, they have created a Facebook link called The Breathing Room. You put up a picture of your child, and then a picture of all the adults in their life and they can all pledge to get the vaccination. It also helps you find out where to get the vaccine.

There’s so much information out there and it can be so overwhelming as a new parent. In very layman’s terms – and I do consider myself quite the layman – I can speak on the importance of getting the Pertussis vaccine because I’ve had it done.

If you’ve ever heard children that have whooping cough, it is the worst, most awful frightening and horrible sounding cough. And it can sometimes be confusing because there’s croup out there and a lot of different kinds of coughs. But on the Sounds of Pertussis website, you can take a listen to what the cough actually sounds like. They’re trying to make it as simple as they can.”

CBS: Did you vaccinate your kids with all the recommended childhood immunizations?

SMG: “Yes, I made the decision to vaccinate my children at a schedule that I agreed upon with my pediatrician. I can only speak in depth on the pertussis vaccine. And I can tell you that all of us have had the vaccine and none of us have had any symptoms related to anything.”

CBS: How are your kids doing?

SMG: “They’re good. I reached a milestone and flew on a plane with both children. I had an extra hand with me as I didn’t want the plane to revolt against me [laughs]. But, they were great and they loved it. My little one slept 2 1/2 hours and then played for a little bit. And my older one was just in heaven on the airplane.”

CBS: How is Charlotte, what is she into these days?

SMG: “What isn’t she into [laughs]?

I’m very excited because I’m taking her to see Annie this week, which is the very first Broadway show that I ever saw. And now I get to take my daughter to see Annie on Broadway so we’re very excited. I certainly loved the show and the movie [when I was a kid].”

CBS: How is Rocky doing?

SMG: “He’s heaven. He’s my little munchkin. He’s such a good little traveler. He’s just very easy going – definitely a second child.”

CBS: Do you think he’s easy because he’s a boy? Or because he’s the second?

SMG: “I think it’s because he’s the second. I think the best advice you can ever give to a new parent is to trust your instincts. But it’s hard to really understand that the first time because everything is so new and overwhelming. So by the second time, you know you’re probably not going to break them, and you hopefully know what you’re doing. I think it comes much easier – for me it has.”

CBS: Year after year, you are our favorite celebrity mom in our Readers’ Choice Awards.

SMG: “Thank you for that honor! I actually knew that because Billy and Scout [The Guncles] told me about it. They were like, ‘We voted for you.’ They always speak very highly of your website.

The Guncles are the best and they always have the greatest advice. If I need a new car seat, I’ll just call Billy and Scout and they’ll tell me. They are the most informed people for anything baby-related. If it is out there, they have tried it.”

CBS: How have you kept Rocky shielded from the paparazzi?

SMG: “We’ve been very fortunate. We lead very private lives, it’s not like we go to many of the hot spots. If I gave you all my secrets, then you’d see me every day!”

CBS: What are your upcoming Father’s Day plans?

SMG: “We always say that every day is Father’s Day and every day is Mother’s Day so we don’t make a big deal out of that specific day. And we always spend the weekends together as a family anyway.”

CBS: Do you have any upcoming summer plans?

SMG: “We will take a few road trips, but I start work fairly soon. And it’s California, so it’s summer here year-round.”

CBS: Are you excited about working with Robin Williams in The Crazy Ones?

SMG: “Nobody could ask for a better job. David E. Kelley and Robin Williams — you don’t get a better assignment than that!”


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  1. Great interview! And I’m glad that Sarah joined this company, in my country all children vaccinated in the first period after birth, and this’s not decision of the parents.
    Want to see Rocky’s pictures just because I love Sarah. It seemed a little weird, since they didn’t hide Charlotte. But Sarah seems very happy, so I hope that Rocky is a healthy baby.

  2. I agree. so odd that we see Charlotte and not Rocky but perhaps she just learned better ways of keeping him away from the public eye then she did with her first. Like she said it’s a learning process.

  3. No, Rocky has never been seen / photographed. We know he exists just because Sarah talks about him and says she’s mom of two ^^. I really can’t believe they’ve managed to shield him from paps since his birth in late Sept. while Charlotte was first photographed in her car seat when she was just 3 months old.

  4. Wonderful interview with SMG. I’m 100% certain that Rocky is very handsome. I know we will see pics of him eventually I don’t see it as a right

      • Do you have to call ppl names? She was just saying the girls look alike, it’s her opinion and ‘twin’ is just an expression of speech. She didn’t say Charlotte doesn’t look like her father or seriously meant she’s Adam Sandlar’s lost child, you know.

        • but comparing her to sadie is like an insult!! open your eyes – the brown hairs doesn’t make them look a like

  5. Love SMG! I wish we could see her son, I’m sure he’s as adorable as her daughter. iirc they had posed with Charlotte when she was born for a magazine. Wonder why they opt not to now.

  6. Sometimes the paps outsmart the parents and photos are taken. A blanket slips off a corner of a stroller and the pap sneaks in for a shot. It’s not always avoidable. That’s how they got a picture of one of Anna Paquin’s twins.

  7. Even a person vaccinated against pertussis can be a carrier! Yes, newborns are extremely vulnerable to pertussis because they cannot effectively cough! But also the vaccination only starts to protect them after several doses when they are couple of months old… So I think this problem is much more complicated than SMG and some health professionals present.

  8. Also the vaccine does not protect you from catching pertussis yourself. It only somewhat promises easier recovery from it if you do.

  9. What Is the Pertussis (DPT, DTaP, Tdap) Vaccine?

    In the U.S. today, pertussis vaccine is administered only in a combination shot (DTaP, Tdap) that contains vaccines for diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), and pertussis (whooping cough) (P). A pertussis vaccine containing shot is routinely given in the U.S. six times: at two, four, and six months old; between 15 and 18 months old; and between four and six years old. Another booster dose is given at 12-13 years of age (Tdap).

    There are various combination shots that bundle diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines with vaccines for polio, haemophilus influenza B (HIB, and hepatitis B (see below for descriptions).

    In the U.S., the older whole cell pertussis vaccine (DPT), which was created in 1912, was replaced with a purified, less reactive acellular DTaP vaccine in 1996. (DPT was available in some doctor’s offices in the U.S. until about 1999). DPT is still used in many other countries.

    Pertussis Vaccine Ingredients

    The whole cell pertussis vaccine (DPT), which is not used in the U.S. anymore but is still used in other countries, contains whole B. pertussis bacteria that have been inactivated with heat and chemicals, as well as an aluminum adjuvant and mercury preservative (thimerosal). The purified DTaP/Tdap vaccines packaged in single dose vials given to American babies since the late 1990’s, contain reduced bioactive pertussis toxin, less endotoxin and either no or reduced (trace amounts) of mercury, along with an aluminum adjuvant.

    Depending upon the vaccine manufacturer, shots containing pertussis vaccine may contain varying amounts of inactivated pertussis toxin, filamentous hemagglutinin (FDA), pertactin, fimbriae, formaldehyde, polysorbate 80 (Tween 80), gluteraldehyde, 2-phenoxoyethanol, aluminum and thimerosal (mercury).

    Other ingredients are included in larger combination shots that bundle pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria vaccines with polio, hepatitis B and/or HIB vaccines. See each manufacturer product insert for a list of vaccine ingredients.

  10. her pr team is working over time with this website. How much does she pay you? And she stages those photographed ‘outings’ just like every other attention desperate celebrity. There’s a reason you never see FPJ.

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