Bringing a baby into the world also demands you to attentively and carefully protect them from disease. For this purpose, vaccinations or immunizations are very critical since they safeguard babies from many preventive illnesses. With the increasing risk of health problems, existing health hazards and prevalent conditions of survival, it is important the babies are shielded from as many diseases as possible. As per records, approximately 3 million deaths worldwide can be prevented if children receive proper and timely vaccinations against preventable diseases such as tetanus, hepatitis, polio, pneumonia, diarrhea, etc.
In India, several initiatives and programs have been launched in this space to promote awareness about immunizations for babies. More so, the government also organizes campaigns and sets-up free centres to provide vaccinations at no cost. Even then, the number of children who do not receive vaccinations is very high. In India, on an average, more than 1.2 million children die each year before completing five years of age. These deaths are accountable for widespread diseases and the lack of awareness on parts of parents to immunize their child from preventable diseases. As per WHO, over 22 million children do not receive proper and complete vaccinations; the number is only increasing every year.
Hence, there is a clear lack of knowledge about the need for vaccinations, as well as awareness about the essential vaccinations required for the baby. Below is the vaccination chart for babies in India as directed by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP).
|Birth||Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG)||1||BCG|
|Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV 0)||1||OPV|
|Hepatitis B (HB 1)||1||Hep -B|
|6 weeks||Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTP 1)||1||DTP|
|Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV** 1)||1||IPV|
|Hepatitis B (HB 2)||1||Hep -B|
|Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB 1)||1||HiB|
|Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 1)||1||PCV|
|10 weeks||Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTP 2)||1||DTP|
|Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB 2)||1||HiB|
|Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV** 2)||1||IPV|
|Hepatitis B (HB 3)||1||Hep -B|
|Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 2)||1||PCV|
|14 weeks||Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine (DTP 3)||1||DTP|
|Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB 3)||1||HiB|
|Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV** 3)||1||IPV|
|Hepatitis B (HB*4)||1||Hep B|
|Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 3)||1||PCV|
|9 months9-12 months||Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 1)Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine||1||MMR|
|12 months||Hepatitis A (Hep A1)||1||Hep -A|
|13-15 months||Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 2)||1||MMR|
|PCV Booster 1||1||PCV|
|16 to 18 months||Diphtheria, Perussis, and Tetanus (DTP B1)||1||DTP|
|Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV*** B1)||1||IPV|
|Hepatitis A (Hep A2*****)||1||Hep – A|
|Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB B1)||1||HiB|
|4 to 6 years||Diphtheria, Perussis, and Tetanus (DTP B2)||1||DTP|
|Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 3/MMRV)||1||MMR|
|9 to 14 years||Tdap||1||Tdap|
|Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 1 & 2)||1||HPV|
|15 to 18 Years||Td||1||Tdap|
|Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 1, 2 & 3)||1||HPV|
As per IAP-ACVIP Recommended immunization schedule for children aged 0-18 years (2018-19)
*Fourth Dose of Hepatitis B permissible for combinations vaccine only
**In case IPV is not available or feasible, the child should be offered bOPV (3 doses). In such case give two fractional doses of IPV at 6 wk and 14 wk
***b-OPV, if IPV booster (standalone or combination) not feasible
****Third dose not required for RV 1. Catch up to 1 year of age in the UIP schedule.
*****Live attenuated Hepatitis A vaccine: Single done only
******Begin influenza vaccine after 6 months of age, about 2-4 weeks before the season, give 2 doses at the interval of 4 weeks during the first year and then single dose yearly till 5 years of age
Moreover, there are some vaccinations that are recommended for children that are exposed to or living in high-risk areas. These vaccinations include:
- Meningococcal (MCV)
- Japanese Encephalitis (JE)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
That said, there are also cases of children that are more prone to developing certain health condition because of some high-risk factors linked to them. These factors that put children at high risk are:
- Congenital or acquired immune deficiency
- Liver disease
- Chronic cardiac, liver, renal, or hematologic disease
- Frequent travelers
- Prolonged exposure to radiation therapy, steroids, etc.
- Cochlear implant surgery
Vaccinations also vary depending on the geographical location of the children. Moreover, if the child is facing exiting critical/severe health concerns, there might be a different vaccination schedule that may be prescribed. One must consult the paediatrician in both the cases above.
Further, it is also very important to remember and take into consideration the following factors before and while getting the child immunized.
- Do not skip any vaccination, follow the schedule religiously
- Do not get any advanced vaccination
- Seek advice before you travel with your child or children
- Skip the vaccination in case the child has a serious health problem or ongoing fever
- Opt for painful vaccinations; they have no long-term side effects
- The child might get some fever post-immunization
- Provide comfort to your child by singing, distracting or playing with them, etc.
- Do not panic during the vaccination, it can make the child frightful and hysteric
- Check with your doctor before feeding the child before vaccination
In case any vaccination is missed, check with the paediatrician to know the best time to get it done. Vaccinations are easy and very essential for good health. Hence, remember to consult your paediatrician and get your child vaccinated as per recommendations.