Hey moms, the arrival of your baby in this beautiful world is a fantastic feeling for you’ll. You welcome your baby with love and even care for him by providing all the essentials required for his appropriate growth and development. You take care of his nutrition so that he can be healthy. You care for his skin so that the weather changes or harsh clothes or diapers don’t cause him rashes and many more. But, along with these, one more thing that is beneficial for your baby’s health is vaccinations.
Yeah, I know even you may feel the pain of the injection when its injected in your baby’s body and also may be worried about it, but it’s essential for his health and well being. So mom’s today I am going to share with you’ll some vital information related to vaccines and how it will beneficial to your baby.
What Are Vaccines And Why Are They Important?
Vaccines are dead or weakened part of the germs or bacterias that can cause disease. When these vaccines are injected in your baby’s body, then his immune system starts building up the antibodies required for protecting them, if they come in contact with any disease in the future.
Vaccines help to keep your baby immune by protecting him from dangerous diseases or illnesses like diphtheria, polio, or Tetanus. Initially, when the baby is in the womb, he is already protected till the birth with the antibodies that you transmit him, and also, even when you breastfeed him, he gets the antibodies through the breast milk. But, the protection from these antibodies is for a limited period. For longer protection from diseases, you should opt for vaccines that are given to the babies at periodic intervals.
Role Of Vaccination
Infants or toddlers are more susceptible to getting infected by diseases, as their immune system, which is responsible for preventing the diseases, is not fully developed.
The primary role of our immune system is to protect the body from harmful pathogens. When the body fails to recognize the pathogens at that time, the child can fall sick.
When vaccines are injected in your baby’s body, then the body recognizes the harmful organisms and plan how to eliminate it. This way, the vaccines prepare the body to fight with the harmful pathogens and immunize your baby from diseases or illness.
What Are The Types Of Vaccines?
There are various types of vaccines available, and each vaccine is designed to kill certain types of germs and prevent the severe disease they cause. The different types of vaccines are as below.
Live attenuated vaccines
Live vaccines are made of viruses and bacterias that are weakened before including it in the vaccine. After the vaccine is injected in the baby, the viruses or bacteria replicate themselves in the body, thus creating a long-lasting immune response. 1-3 doses of these vaccines can lifetime protect a baby from severe diseases and illness. These vaccines given to your baby in the form of an injection require one dose, and those given orally require 3 doses.
These vaccines doesn’t cause harm to the healthy baby, but these are not suitable for babies having low immune system response as the replication of these vaccine viruses can be incontrollable which can cause severe illness or disease to the baby.
Live vaccines are used to protect the baby from:
- Yellow fever
- Measles, mumps, rubella (Combined MMR vaccine)
- BCG vaccines to protect against TB
Inactive vaccines are made up of dead viruses and bacterias that don’t replicate themselves. These vaccines don’t provide the protection as the live vaccines, and so has to be given to the babies at periodical intervals for continuous immunity.
As inactive vaccines doesn’t replicate, they are not harmful to the babies having a weak immune system and hence doesn’t cause any diseases. Adjuvants like the aluminum salts are usually added to the inactivated vaccines to strengthen the immune response to the vaccination.
Inactive vaccines are used to protect baby from:
- Hepatitis A
Subunit, polysaccharide, conjugate and recombinant vaccines
These vaccines are made from specific sugars, protein, or capsid from the germs; therefore, it is suitable to prevent and protect the babies from any illness.
These vaccines can be used for babies with a weak immune system. But, it has a disadvantage that it has to be given to the babies at periodic intervals for ongoing protection from the diseases.
These vaccines are used to protect the babies from:
- Hepatitis B
- Whooping cough
- Pneumococcal disease
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) disease
- Meningococcal disease
- HPV (Human papillomavirus)
Toxoid vaccines are made from the inactivated toxins that are released from the virus or bacteria when they attack the human body. The immune system recognizes these toxins in the same way as it recognizes the polysaccharides or proteins on the bacteria’s surface. These toxoids look similar to the toxins but are not dangerous to the health and trigger a healthy immune system.
Toxoids are used to protect the babies from:
Government Immunization Schedule For Infants In India
The immunization schedule depends on the place you live, your baby’s health, and the vaccines available, but it’s better to consult your pediatrician for the vaccines. So to help you out in giving vaccinations to your baby at the right time, here is the immunization schedule for infants and children that you can follow. This baby vaccination chart will guide you to give the appropriate vaccinations to your baby at the proper age.
Vaccines For Children Provided Under The Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)
BCG stands for the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine, and it is given to the infants at the time of their birth or early within the year of their birth to protect them from disseminated TB and tubercular meningitis. It is given in the form of an intradermal injection in the upper left arm.
Hepatitis B vaccine:
It is also known as Hep B. Its first dose is given to the baby as soon as he is born or within the 24 hours of his birth. The birth dose must be given only if the baby has a weight greater then 2000 grams. And if the baby has a low weight at the time of birth, then the doctor might give him within one month or at the time of discharge from the hospital.
The other 3 doses have to be given at 6th, 10th & 14th week to protect the baby from infection caused by Hepatitis B. It is given in combination with Hib and DPT in the form of a pentavalent vaccine. It is available as an intramuscular injection and has to be given on the outer side of the mid-thigh
OPV stands for the Oral Polio vaccine, and it is given after the birth as the zero dose, and also three other doses are given in 6th, 10th & 14th week to protect the baby from poliomyelitis. A booster dose to continue the protection is given between 16-24 months of age. It is given in the form of drops, and mostly 2 drops of this vaccine are given to the baby.
It is a combination of vaccine which is given to protect the baby from five diseases, namely Diptheria, Hepatitis B, Pertussis, Tetanus, and Haemophilus influenza type b infection. The other three doses are given in 6th, 10th & 14th week from birth and can be given till 1 year of age. It is available in the injection form and is given on the anterolateral side of the mid-thigh.
It is also known as RV, and its 3 doses are given in 6th, 10th & 14th weeks of age to protect the baby from rotavirus diarrhea. It is available as an oral vaccine, and 5 drops of this vaccine are given to the baby.
IPV stands for Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine, and it’s given to the children at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years of age to protect the children from polio, which can cause death and paralysis.
Measles is also known as the MR vaccine. Its first dose is given to the baby between 9-12 months of age to protect him from measles, and if it’s missed, then it can be given up to 5 years of age. The second dose of this vaccine is given at 16-24 years of age. In some states, the combination of Measles and Rubella vaccine Is given to protect the baby from measles and rubella infections. This vaccine is available in the injection form and has to be given on the upper arm on the right.
PCV stands for Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, and its two vaccines are given at the 6th and 14th weeks of age to protect the baby from diseases caused by bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumonia. The booster dose of this vaccine is given to the baby at 9 months of age. It is available as an intramuscular injection and has to be given on the outer side of the right thigh. Make sure that PCV and pentavalent are given as two separate injections on the opposite thighs.
fIPV stands for Fractional Inactivated Poliomyelitis Vaccine and its given and 4th and 6th week of age to boost the protection from poliomyelitis infection. It is available an injection and has to be given on the upper arm on the right.
JE stands for the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, and its first dose is given at 9-12 months of age, and the second dose is given at 16-24 months of age to protect the baby from Japanese Encephalitis disease. It is available in the injection form and has to be given on the upper arm on the left.
It is a combination of vaccines to protect the baby from Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. The first booster of this vaccine is given to the baby at the age of 16-24 months in the injection form on the outer side of the left mid-thigh. The second booster of this medicine is given at 5-6 years of age in injection form on the upper arm on the left.
TT stands for the Tetanus Toxoid vaccine and is given to the child at 10 years and 16 years of age to protect them from Tetanus. But, this vaccine is only given if the earlier pentavalent vaccine and DPT vaccine were given at the scheduled age.
For pregnant women, the first dose of TT is given in early pregnancy, and the second dose of TT is given after 4 weeks of the first dose. TT booster is given to pregnant women only if the first 2 TT doses are taken within the three years of pregnancy.
Keeping Track Of Immunizations
As a parent, you have to keep track of vaccinations given to your baby and ones that has to be given in the future. Although the doctors in the hospital maintain the vaccination record, it’s a good practice to keep the records yourself as sometimes doctors may change or sometimes, unfortunately, the files may get lost.
If your baby is sick and has missed a dose of an immunization vaccine, then do not panic and consult the doctor for guidance. But, making up of the missed dose is very important, and so the doctor might give your baby catch-up vaccinations. These vaccinations are usually given when the baby has missed a dose due to any reason.
Tips On Immunization
Please keep a note of this information to make the vaccination schedule go smoothly.
- Vaccinations have common side effects like swelling on the spot where the injection is given, fever and soreness. Discuss with your doctor about the side effects and which symptoms show the signal of emergency.
- Ask the doctor if they have a system of giving a reminder call to the parents for vaccination. This will remind the parents of the vaccination date and also help them to make a note if any dose is missed.
- Ask your doctor if they keep the records of the immunizations given to the babies so that if your records get lost, you can get it from there.
- Always take the immunization record along with you while giving vaccines to the baby and make sure that the doctor signs and mentions the immunization date on it.
Vaccinations are essential for infants and children to protect them from all types of viruses and infections as well as ensure proper growth and development. Always make sure that your baby gets all the vaccines, and if in case the dose is missed, then do give him catch-up vaccination with the doctor’s consultation.