If there is a newborn baby in the house or you are expecting one soon, people around you make sure that they have made you anxious and worried about the different types of vaccines for the baby. All that discussion and free advice by them is sure to confuse you!
But vaccines are crucial for any newborn baby. There are many questions regarding vaccines that are considered important, which vaccines are optional for babies, and when to give them. Read along, and we’ll try to answer these questions.
It is an interesting concept. Say we vaccinate the baby for a disease. The vaccine consists of weakened and preserved disease-causing pathogens. So when the vaccine enters the body via the correct route, it activates the antibodies in our body that protect us against that particular pathogen. These antibodies practice against the vaccine, so when the actual infection occurs, they have the immunity and strength to fight it off.
Look at it this way – you play cricket, you are weak against the bouncer. You practice that ball over and over in the nets, perfecting the ways to deal with it. So during an actual match, whenever you face a bouncer, you can easily dispatch it via a great hook shot!
Now that we learned about how vaccines help the body fight pathogens, let us see why it is vital to vaccinate babies during childhood. You must have heard the saying, “Prevention is better than cure.” That is the whole concept behind immunization during childhood. The vaccine develops immunity. So, the baby is not affected by the disease. The body can fight back.
One more reason is the inability and the weakness of a baby to fight diseases on its own. Sure, the baby gets some immunity from the mom, but that fades away by the time the baby gets one year old. This is where vaccines come in. They help develop the strength and the antibodies to fight!
There are practically infinite things to know about the immunization process for babies, a whole lot of information. But most of the information out there can make you paranoid and anxious! So, let us make it simple for you! The most important thing is knowing the importance of vaccines. And that we have already covered so it’s necessary that every parent understands the importance of vaccines and stick to the schedules as directed by the doctor.
As little as they might be, there are some adverse effects in the form of discomfort, fever, ache, rashes, or pain at the site of injection. But it is normal. You expect side effects from a vaccine. If your baby has a mild fever or is acting restless after getting a vaccine, you need not worry about it.
It is a rarity, but the best advice is to get to the nearest doctor to get it examined. The chances of the reaction occurring are negligible. So, it is better to get the vaccine without fearing the possibility of a reaction.
Compulsory vaccines, optional vaccines, number of doses, when to get them, you’ll find all that information as you read along in the next section. Don’t worry. We got it covered! However, for you as a parent, it is important to record all the vaccines given to the baby along with the dates.
There are several vaccines listed out there. And you must have heard people talking about many of them. But not all of them are compulsory. The government has only mandated the essential ones, the crucial ones! So here is a list of all the compulsory vaccines for babies:
BCG vaccine is not compulsory in the countries where the risk is not significant, like the US, Switzerland, Norway, etc. According to the WHO 2019 report, India recorded 2.64 million TB cases. As the risk is quite high, BCG is mandatory.
Hepatitis is a viral disease that affects the liver. It causes the liver to swell, leading to consequences. It is common in Asian countries, especially China and India. So, it is made compulsory upon birth.
It is one of the most important vaccines for the baby. As the name suggests, it combines five vaccines. It consists of:
The pentavalent vaccine needs three intramuscular doses. The baby gets the first dose when it turns six weeks old. When the baby turns ten weeks old, it gets the second dose. The final jab happens when the baby turns 14 weeks old.
OPV or Oral Polio Vaccine is famously known as “two drops of life” in the Amitabh Bacchan advert on television!
If a baby is having loose motions all the time, there might be a chance of Rotavirus infection. It is contagious and challenging to control! Therefore, RVV is prescribed by doctors.
Measles, another lethal viral infection, can cause severe respiratory problems. It leads to pneumonia in babies, which can have serious consequences, even death.
As mentioned earlier, not all vaccines are compulsory! Apart from the ones above, all the other ones are optional because the risk factor isn’t high. So, the government hasn’t mandated them. Here is a list of all the optional vaccines:
The infection in the bloodstream that these bacteria cause is very serious. It can be fatal for babies. However, it is rare, and thus, the vaccine is not compulsory. But it is recommended. Mode of vaccination: intramuscular injection on the thigh.
The major threat from this bacteria is pneumonia. It can be difficult to treat babies and hence PCV is recommended. The baby gets an intramuscular injection on the thigh.
Varicella immunes the baby against chickenpox. Chickenpox is quite rare, so the varicella vaccine is not mandatory. It is injected via subcutaneous injection.
In India, most of the parents who have not vaccinated their babies at the right time are not fully aware of the importance and so, they may skip vaccination entirely. It comes down to lack of information or the accessibility to information. Or straight up, it can be out of ignorance, which is sad.
However, many parents choose not to vaccinate their baby, even though they have all the information about it. But with that decision come some risks and responsibilities, which they need to know about:
We recommend getting your baby vaccinated based on all the necessary information we have provided. Remember, one single step from your end can help the baby fight serious diseases its entire life!
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