Childhood Vaccines: What Parents Should Know

Childhood Vaccines: What Parents Should Know
 - Hyderabad

Paediatrician

Hyderabad   |   24 Jun 2024

Vaccination is a method of providing immunity to the body. Hence it is essential for the parents to understand what vaccines to get for their children. The process of vaccination involves injecting a small portion of either dead microorganisms or their toxins into the blood stream. This ensures that the body’s immunity recognizes these microorganisms and produces antibodies against it. The entire process of immunization provides life time protection from the diseases produced by these viruses or fungi.

What vaccines are recommended for children and when should they be given?

As per the guidelines provided by Indian Academy of Paediatrics and The National Immunization Schedule, vaccinations should be periodically given from birth up to sixteen years of age. 

  • BCG, OPV0 and HBV1 vaccines are given at birth.
  • Following that DTwP1, HBV2, and Rotavirus1 are given at the six week mark.
  • At 10 weeks DTwP2 and and Rotavirus2 are given.
  • DTwP3 and Rotavirus3 are given at the 14 week mark completing the three required doses of these vaccines.
  • OPV1 and HBV3 vaccines are then given when the child is 6 months of age.
  • At 9 months of age OPV1, MMR first dose and typhoid conjugate vaccine are given.
  • Then at 15 months MMR second dose, the first dose of varicella vaccine and a booster dose of PCV is given.
  • By 24 months or 2 years of age, all the vaccinations and missed doses are given some at the interval of 6 weeks and some at 6 months. A Typhoid booster dose is also administered in the gap.
  • By 5 years all necessary vaccines are completed along with another typhoid vaccine dose and varicella second dose.
  • By 10 years HPV vaccine can be started especially for a girl child and 2 doses of those can be given by 15 years of age.

It should be noted that a child is said to be completely immunized against a disease only when the full course of vaccination is completed. If three doses of a vaccine are indicated, then scheduled and complete three doses should be administered. It should be noted that in many cases these vaccines are given in combination and separate needle pricks may not be required in a single appointment. It is also important to understand that it is best to get all updated vaccinations as recommended by your paediatrician or general physician and not to pick some vaccines over other.

Apart from these mandatory vaccinations, some children are recommended vaccinations against meningococcal infections, influenza, and encephalitis.

Are childhood vaccines safe? Are there any side effects?

There are no serious side effects for any vaccinations. By nature, the content of the vaccine is so diluted that it cannot cause disease. Its only purpose is to trigger an immune response in the body. There is a normal physiological response of fever in most cases as the immunity develops. But there the rigorous studies performed and human clinical trials conducted ensure that the potential side effects of a particular vaccine are infinitesimal on a population level.

What are the benefits of vaccinating my child?

  • They can be life saving: Vaccines offer novel ways to protect your child from deadly diseases. They also build herd immunity protecting children from spreading diseases from one person to another. 
  • They save money: Getting treatment for some of these diseases can prove to be extremely expensive. By getting a vaccine, the symptoms are manageable even if in contact with the pathogenic organism. Hence the hospital bills are manageable for a disease after vaccination. 
  • Safe and effective: The short term discomfort and fever outweigh the benefits that vaccines provide. They are recommended by disease specialists world wide and have shown proven benefits since decades.

Can vaccines cause autism or other developmental disorders?

No, vaccinations do not and cannot cause Autism. There have been multiple research studies done collecting both short and long term data that conclusively state that Autism is not a side effect of any kind of vaccination.

Are there any exemptions or alternative schedules for childhood vaccinations?

Apart from having a known history of allergy to an ingredient in vaccine, there is no reason to delay vaccination for your child. There can only be negative effects such as contracting the disease that can lead to disability or risk health by opting for an exemption to recommended vaccine. 

Conclusion:

When it comes to vaccination, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding its importance. Vaccinations by nature are invented, developed and made mandatory to keep your child as well as other children in every community safe. It is necessary to stick to the vaccination schedule and get vaccines on time to protect your child from deadly diseases. It should also be noted that if your child has high risk disorders, the number of vaccinations required only increases but there is no recommendation for skipping any doses of vaccines.

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