Before and a little while after the birth, a child is protected against diseases because of the various antibodies that have passed from the child’s mother to the child’s body through the placenta. However, vaccination or immunization is equally important for a child to maintain immunity after birth. Here is the list of important vaccines that a child should get after birth to ensure nearly complete protection against potentially harmful diseases.
1. HBV: This vaccine protects against the Hepatitis B virus, which affects the liver of a child. The omission of this vaccine can lead to chronic liver infections or even liver cancer. HBV vaccine is a series of three injections to be given to a child between 0-18 months. The vaccination may lead to slight fever, but your doctor will prescribe medicines if required.
2. PCV: This vaccine protects the child against pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis. Children under two years are prone to serious pneumococcal infections, if not vaccinated on time. The PCV vaccine is a series of four injections to be given to a child between 2-15 months. The vaccine may cause fever or soreness in the area where the shot was given.
3. DTaP: This vaccine protects against Diphtheria (an infection that can lead to throat blockage and difficulty in breathing), Tetanus (a nerve disease), and Pertussis (a respiratory disease that leads to severe coughing). The DTaP vaccine is a series of five injections to be given to the child between 2 months-6 years. After the initial vaccine, the Tdap booster shots should be given to the child at the age of 11-12 years. The vaccine may be accompanied by mild fever, irritable behavior, and loss of appetite in children for which your doctor will prescribe suitable antibiotics.
4. Hib: This vaccine provides protection against meningitis, pneumonia, pericarditis (infection in the membrane that covers the heart), and infections in the blood, bones, and joints caused by the Haemophilus Influenzae type b virus. This vaccine is to be given at two months, four months, and six months. A booster dose is also given at 12-15 months.
5. IPV: This is a vaccine against Polio, a disease that can cause permanent paralysis. This vaccine is given at generally two months, four months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years. Apart from the shots, oral doses of the vaccine are also given.
6. MMR: This vaccine protects your child against measles, mumps, and rubella. The vaccine is given first between 12-15 months and then between 4-6 years.
7. Varicella: This vaccine provides protection against chickenpox and is given at the age of 12-15 months, followed by a booster shot at 4-6 years of age.
8. Hepatitis A: This vaccine protects your child from HAV, which can cause jaundice, nausea, and vomiting. This vaccine is given at the age of 12-23 months, followed by another dose after six months.
9. Rotavirus: This vaccine protects your child from Rotavirus, which is diarrhea, causing viruses in infants and toddlers. If not vaccinated, it can lead to severe dehydration. It is a liquid vaccine given through mouth at the age of 2 months, four months, and six months.
The vaccines listed above are likely to change as medical research advancements lead to the availability of stronger and more effective vaccines. Please consult a pediatrician and use an immunization chart to track your child’s immunization schedule.