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Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways to strengthen your child’s immunity and protect their health. They are engineered by bio-medical scientists to prevent harmful and sometimes deadly diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and whooping cough. As a pediatrician, Dr. Tejaswini Namburi advocates that every child should receive all the vaccinations recommended by the Govt. of India to ensure their health and well-being. 

What Is Vaccination?

Vaccination is the process of administering a dose of vaccine to stimulate the body’s immune system to develop the right antibodies to fight a specific disease. A vaccine contains an inactivated or weak form of a virus or bacteria that causes the disease. When it enters your child’s body, it triggers their immune system to create antibodies to fight it away. These antibodies remain in your child’s body, protecting them against future infections.

Vaccination is not only important for your child, but it also helps prevent the spread of the disease within the community. Vaccines are highly tested for their safety and effectiveness. While some vaccines are completely harmless, a few only create temporary symptoms like fever, localized pain, etc. that can be easily managed with medicines.

Which Vaccinations are Recommended for Children?

The recommended vaccinations for children vary depending on their age and health status. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recommend the following vaccination schedule for children:

Birth to 6 weeks:

  • BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin)
  • Hepatitis B
  • OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine)
  • IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)

6 weeks to 10 weeks:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B)
  • IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)
  • PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)
  • Rotavirus Vaccine

10 weeks to 14 weeks:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B)
  • IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)
  • PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)
  • Rotavirus Vaccine

9 months:

  • Measles Vaccine

12 months:

  • Hepatitis A Vaccine
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) Vaccine
  • Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)

15 months:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B)
  • PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)

16 to 18 months:

  • IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)

4 to 6 years:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
  • IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) Vaccine
  • Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)

10 to 12 years:

  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis)
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

Adolescents:

  • Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Vaccines can be given in the form of an injection or orally. Both forms of vaccines are equally effective and essential. Make sure that you keep your child up to date with these vaccinations to ensure that they are protected against these diseases. 

What To Do If You Have Missed One Or More Doses?

If you have missed the scheduled date of vaccines, get another appointment to reschedule it as soon as possible. These doses usually have some buffer time. So, a few days of delay won’t harm the immunity.

However, if it’s been over a week or if you have missed a few doses, it’s best to consult your pediatrician to devise a fresh plan.

If you are considering vaccination for the first time for an older child, it is important to thoroughly discuss the medical history of your little one with the doctor so that they can help with a customized vaccination plan. Remember, when it comes to vaccination, keeping up with the schedule is your best shot. But delayed vaccination is still better than no vaccination!

If you have any concerns about vaccinations, consult with a pediatrician like Dr. Tejaswini Namburi to get the right advice on how to move forward.

Happy parenting!

Dr Tejaswini Namburi
Consultant Pediatrician

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