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Vaccination

Childhood Immunization

Immunisation, also called vaccination, is the use of vaccines to protect children against infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

All vaccines work by stimulating the immune system in the same way as the actual infection would, but without causing the full-blown disease.

All of the infections that are in the immunization program can develop into very serious illness even causing disability or death. When most children in the community are immunized, it creates what is called ‘herd immunity’ and the spread of the infection in the community is significantly reduced. Even unvaccinated children are at much lower risk of catching the illness.

Why should I immunize my child?

Parents are concerned about the health and safety of their children and rightly so. They take steps to protect them in various ways such as installing child-proof door latches to using child car seats.  Vaccines should be one such and probably the most important protective measure taken. Vaccines protect children by helping prepare their bodies to fight serious, and potentially, deadly diseases.

Newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies passed on to them from their mothers. However, the duration of this immunity may be anywhere from a month to about a year. Moreover, young children do not have this maternal transmitted immunity against some diseases such as whooping cough that are however vaccine-preventable.

If a child is not vaccinated and is exposed to disease germs, the child's body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles and polio. These same germs exist today but babies are now protected by vaccines, so we do not see these diseases as often.

Immunization schedule (based on IAPCOI recommendations) 

 

VACCINE

Birth

BCG
OPV 0
Hep-B 1

6 weeks

DTwP 1
IPV 1
Hep-B 2
Hib 1
Rotavirus 1
PCV 1

10 weeks

DTwP 2
IPV 2
Hib 2
*Rotavirus 2
PCV 2

14 weeks

DTwP 3
IPV 3
Hib 3
*Rotavirus 3
PCV 3

6 months

OPV 1
Hep-B 3

9 months

OPV 2
MMR 1

9-12 months

Typhoid Conjugate vaccine

12 months

Hep-A 1

15 months

MMR 2
Varicella 1

16-18 months

PCV Booster
DTwP B1/
DTaP B1
IPV B1
Hib B1

18 months

Hep-A 2

2 years

Typhoid Booster

4 -6 years

DTwP B2/
DTaP B2
OPV 3
Varicella 2
Typhoid Booster

10- 12 years

Tdap/Td
HPV

 

*Rotavirus vaccine (2/3 doses depending on the brand, at 4-8 weeks interval)

  • The second dose of MMR vaccine can be given at any time 4-8 weeks after the first dose.
  • Varicella (2nd dose may be given at any time 3 months after the 1st dose)
  • Typhoid revaccination every 3 years and Tdap preferred to Td, followed by repeat Td every 10 years

How are vaccines given?

Most vaccines will be given by injection, usually into the muscle or fat of your child's outer thigh or upper arm.

How will my child feel after vaccination?

Every child is different. Most are not affected by vaccination. Sometimes, redness and swelling may develop at the site of vaccination. Newer vaccines are now available, the side effects to which are minimal. Some babies may feel irritable or develop fever. Simple anti-fever medications taken on your doctor’s advice, will help tide over these side effects.

Very rarely, some babies may have an allergic reaction immediately after vaccination. Hence, you are asked to wait in the hospital itself for 30 minutes after any vaccination so that doctors and nurses with proper equipment are around to take care of your baby, if required.

When to delay immunization

As a general rule, your child should receive all the standard immunization unless he or she has a fever at the time the injection is due. The vaccines could increase the fever and make it difficult to identify side-effects.

If you are worried about how your child will react to the vaccine, or if he or she has had previous reactions, talk to your Doctor who will advise you accordingly.