Dear Momsters, as a parent, you will be wondering, why vaccinating your kiddo is so important !!
Some parents think that their baby’s immune system is immature and cannot handle vaccination at such a young age. But, the fact is, as soon as they are born, babies effectively start dealing with trillions of bacteria and viruses. The challenges to their immune system from vaccines are tiny compared to the everyday challenges of living!
Concept of Vaccination:
The vaccine is a biological preparation that resembles a disease-causing microbe, generally made of dead or weak microbes. When vaccinated our immune system creates a memory of a disease-causing organism (virus, bacteria), and produces antibodies which fights any further attack of microbes.
Getting your child vaccinated on time will help in protecting him or her against several diseases.
There is a saying – “Prevention is better than cure”
Certain diseases have no treatment, such as smallpox, polio, hence vaccination is a boon for us.
Where should I go to have my child vaccinated?
Any Paediatric clinic and also government hospital in India will provide few free vaccinations for your child. For your reference, we are providing the vaccination chart.
Vaccination should be started from birth until 12 years.
Tuberculosis, Polio, Rotavirus, Gastroenteritis, Tetanus, Haemophilus Influenza type B, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal infection, Flu and Measles are the vaccinations that your child will be protected against.
Note: Before deciding which vaccine doses to provide, kindly show to paediatrician your child’s previous immunization status.
Dear MoMsters, we hope, if you are reading this blog, you should be in a position to understand why vaccines are so important to the health and well-being.
The BCG vaccination is given to all the children after birth to prevent Tuberculosis (TB).
Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, transmitted by the airborne route (cough/sneeze or dust particles). Commonly affects the lungs.
Rotavirus infects nearly every child before their 5th birthday. Rotavirus in children can lead to severe diarrhoea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and metabolic acidosis.
Rotavirus transmission is by faecal-oral spread, both through a close person – to – person contact and by fomites (such as toys and other environmental surfaces contaminated by stool). It is also transmitted through faecal, contaminated food /water and respiratory droplets.
Rotavirus vaccination is given to all infants of 6 weeks to 24 weeks in age.
Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
Polio is a disease caused by the genus Enterovirus from the Picornaviridae family. Polio can paralyze arms, legs and breathing muscles.
Transmission occurs in areas of poor sanitation, where there are contaminated water and food.
You can protect your child from polio with vaccination.
All children should get 3 doses of polio vaccines (starting at 2 months of age) and a booster dose at 4 -6 years old.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.
It spreads from one person to another through droplets of moisture coughed into the air.
Diphtheria can be prevented by vaccination. In children, less than 5 years who are not vaccinated, the mortality rate can be as high as 20 %.
Tetanus results from a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani.
C.tetani spores can be found in the soil and in the intestine and faeces of many household and farm animals and humans.
The bacteria usually enter the human body through a puncture in skin/wounds.
Tetanus directly affects the Central nervous system followed by muscles contract and making it rigid, and stiffness of the neck, difficulty in swallowing and stiffness of the abdominal muscles.
There is no cure for tetanus once a person develops symptoms.
Hence prevention through immunization is necessary.
Pertussis (whooping cough)
Pertussis is caused by bacteria. You or your child can get pertussis by breathing in bacteria from an infected person who coughs or sneezes near you.
Pertussis normally starts with symptoms of a cold like a stuffy and runny nose. You might also have a mild fever or cough. Your cough will get much worse after 1 or 2 weeks. Many children have hard and fast coughing that causes a whooping sound.
Pertussis is very serious for babies because they are not always able to fight this infection. Babies less than 1-year-old will have breathing problem and pneumonia (an infection in the lungs).
Most adults do not have severe symptoms of the disease and do not realize their cold is pertussis. Adults can easily pass this infection to a child unknowingly.
Even pregnant ladies are given a Tdap vaccine to protect their babies. Tdap is a form of tetanus.
The vaccine that also has the pertussis vaccine is given in the same shot.
[All children, at the early stage of 2 months, and adults need protection against these three diseases – Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – DTap. Routine booster doses are also needed throughout life]
Haemophilus influenza Type B (Hib)
Hib is the common cause of life-threatening bacterial infection in children.
The bacteria are spread by an infected person sneezing or coughing respiratory droplets into the air, which are inhaled by another person.
A person with Hib disease may develop Meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain), pneumonia, epiglottitis, bacteraemia, infects the joints, bones, lungs, skin, neck, urinary tract and other organs.
Vaccines are available for children more than 6 weeks of age. It is important to start the doses on time because infants are particularly vulnerable to this infection.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
Most of the parents are not aware of pneumococcal vaccines, many tries to skip this particular vaccine, just assuming it is not of much importance.
But dear parents, this disease is easily transmitted to infants and young children.
Pneumococcal disease is caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The bacteria are dispersed into the air when infected people cough or sneeze and are inhaled by the person.
Pneumococcus infection includes pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear infection, sinusitis and bacteraemia.
PCV vaccine protects the children against this disease.
Hepatitis B Vaccine (Hep B)
The Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver and causes serious damage. Hepatitis B is a deadly disease but it’s preventable with vaccination.
Babies can get hepatitis B virus from their infected mother at birth and children can get if they live with an infected person or even if they share the water, food contaminated by an infected person.
All newborn should get Hep B vaccine.
Hepatitis A Vaccine (Hep A)
Hepatitis A is a viral disease transmitted through food that comes in contact with contaminated faeces.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hep A is caused by the HAV virus (Hepatitis A Virus).
Children are routinely vaccinated between their first and second birthdays. Adults who have not been vaccinated previously and want to get protected against hepatitis A can also get the vaccine.
Typhoid is a serious disease. It is caused by bacteria called Salmonella Typhi.
People get typhoid from contaminated food or water.
Typhoid symptoms are high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue and sometimes a rash.
Typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid.
Measles is an acute childhood infectious disease caused by a virus.
The virus is transmitted from person to person through coughing or sneezing.
Symptoms are usually fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, pink eye and a rash.
MMR vaccine is given to prevent.
Varicella (Chickenpox) is caused by the Varicella zoster virus.
Chickenpox is usually mild, but it can be serious in infants who are 12 months of age or less.
Symptoms of chickenpox include skin infections, rashes, fever, inflammation of blood vessels, tiredness, loss of appetite, headache.
Generally, 2 doses of varicella vaccine are given at the age of 12th to 15th months and the second at age of 4th to 6th years.
Talk to your paediatrician for more details.
The flu vaccine is available but it does not cover all cough and cold viruses. Since flu is seasonal, a person has to take it yearly.
Flu is most commonly caused by the influenza virus. It is transmitted when the infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area.
The best time to take flu vaccination is in July and August.
Who should consider having the flu vaccination?
- Pregnant women benefit from the flu vaccine because it will reduce their risk of serious complications, in the later stages of pregnancy.
- The flu vaccine is safe for anyone 6 months of age and older.
- This vaccine is also safe for breastfeeding mother. A breastfeeding mother can pass on antibodies made in response to the flu shot through their breast milk.
Flu shots are usually given once in a year.
The HPV vaccine prevents infection from Human papillomavirus types that are associated with many cancers including cervical cancer.
HPV is generally recommended for girl child at 11 or 12 years of age, but it may be given at the beginning of 9 years till the age of 26 (before marriage).
Few points to be noted:
- Do not get your baby vaccinated if your baby is sick, having an infection or running a high temperature. Once he/she recovers, go for it.
- Vaccination is safe and well tolerated. Mild side effects are fever, soreness at the injection site, pain. But do not worry MoMsters these generally heal quickly.
Few remedies to heal mild side effects after vaccination (collected by asking many other Momsters) :
- On swelling part sponge with an ice cube wrapped in a cotton cloth, generally swelling will be there for 1 or 2 days.
- If the baby is less than 6 month, breastfeeding can make them comfortable.
- Only if fever crosses 100 F then give crocin or paracetamol drops as per doctor’s suggestion.
- Few doctors prescribe gel to apply on the swollen area. Kindly consult a doctor regarding this.
- In addition to vaccination, additional measures to protect children are adequate nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding, reducing pollution.
We hope that after going through the post you might have known the importance of each vaccine and felt relaxed. Please consult your paediatrician if your child is not up to date with all recommended vaccines.
Please feel free to post your query/comment.