immunization childWhen you visit your baby’s doctor for the first time, he or she educates you about the vaccines your child would need. The thought of so many painful injections every  few weeks/months hurting your precious baby is heart breaking. But what you ought to know is that vaccines are really important for the health of your child. Let’s see why they are important and discuss the other things you should know about the immunization schedule.

Our body has a natural immunity

We have miracle-fighters called antibodies which recognize anything that is ‘foreign’ to our body and destroy it. What’s even more awesome is how the immune system then ‘remembers’ these enemies and destroys them  everytime they attack, thus conferring what is called ‘immunity’ to the particular disease. The baby’s immunity is further enhanced by the mother’s breast milk in the first 4-6 months of life.

Then why give vaccines?

Giving vaccines for different diseases confers what is called ‘acquired immunity’ to the disease in the way described above. Some of the diseases like polio, TB, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Measles, Hepatitis B which can be deadly in children can be prevented with vaccines.

In public health practice, vaccination is given to confer community protection so that even unimmunized children will have a reduced risk of getting the disease. This is called as the ‘herd effect’ of immunization. 

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of typhoid.

What vaccines are available and what diseases are they effective against?

Vaccines recommended by the Government and available at Government hospitals at reduced costs include:

  • BCG vaccine (mandatory) – Given as an intradermal injection soon after birth; prevents TB. Can cause a raised area at the site of the injection, do not apply any medicine to the site.
  • OPV vaccine (mandatory) – Given orally as several doses till the age of five, this prevents polio. Poliomyelitis is a disease which affects the nerves causing muscle weakness and paralysis. It is given free of cost to all children below five years of age under the Pulse Polio programme.
  • DPT vaccine (mandatory) – Given as an intradermal injection, it prevents three diseases (Diphtheria, Pertrussis and Tetanus).
    a. Diphtheria is an infection which starts with a ‘sore throat’ but can rapidly lead to formation of toxins (poisons) causing life-threatening complications.
    b. Pertrussis (whooping cough) affects the lungs in children below 15 months of age. Starting with cold and cough, it progresses to episodes of coughs with a ‘whoop’. Complications include pneumonia, brain damage and death.
    c. Tetanus starts when a wound is infected with bacteria found in soil, it affects the body’s muscles and nerves. The toxin produced by the bacteria causes muscle spasms, interferes with nerves and can be fatal.

  • Measles vaccine (mandatory)– The vaccine is given subcutaneously (just below the skin) as the baby completes nine months. A very contagious viral infection, measles starts as cold and cough with rashes progressing from the hairline downwards. It can progress to diarrhoea, pneumonia, infection of the brain leading to death, if untreated.

The immunization schedule as per the Universal Immunization Programme in India:

immunisation scheduleOther optional vaccines recommended for your child

Things to remember during your child’s vaccination

For more articles on children’s health, visit our children’s health section. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. And to join discussions on health topics of your choice, visit our forum.

  • vks

    My Baby was born on 13 jan 2014 but her rota virus vaccination was not given…..what shd i do?

  • Anupriya

    Keeping track of vaccinations for your baby is indeed very important as it protects your child against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases. With busy schedules and multiple tasks at hand, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor immunizations & their dates.

    To overcome this problem, I came across a simple vaccination app that helps to keep track of your child’s immunization schedule till the age of 10. It gives you reminder before the day of vaccination and a full chart along with missed & upcoming vaccines.

    Have a look – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=kmg.android.vaccination

  • pehu sharma

    my baby was born on 2nd january 2013 but 7 month given a one vaccines happitites.after 7 month not given any vaccines .i m worried..and his vaccines card appeard to me so i want to this matter wt can i do….

  • Pingback: 8 Ways To Make Your Baby’s Vaccination Appointment Easy (Gallery) : Health Photo Galleries at Health.india.com

  • shashi

    I forget i vaccines that is hib h influence first one i have given but 6&15 month vaccines i forget i aftaid or should i give now my baby is 2 month

  • F.K

    My baby has been taking his vaccines appropriately. Few months ago, I discovered a lump under his armpit after taking BCG. I have used antibiotics for him but its still there!!! Pls help. What should I do?
    Thanks

  • Dilip Ch. Dutta

    My boy was born on 15th dec 2012 but BCG is not given, it may be given on 7th March 2013, Is it too late, is it a serious matter, plz reply.

  • pooja

    my girl was born on the 25 aug and the doctor has called for bcg injection dose on 14 sept . she will be 21 days old that time. is bcg not put right after birth ..m worried plz reply

    • Wildthingsfu

      We are proud parents of our 2-year-old dahtguer, Skylar. We opted to NOT get her vaccinated during all her routine scheduled vaccinations during her first 2 years. We are going to get her vaccinated when she is around 3, and we will then just have her vaccinated with a few we feel are most important. I, personally, have a compromised immune system. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 26 (I am now 31) and I am suspected of having lupus as well. I was vaccinated in the 80′s full vaccinations. And, I had the Measles at 3 months old. I work in the field of Autism, but this wasn’t the reason we decided to undergo an alternative form of vaccinating our child. I breastfed Skylar for 1 year and feel she had the benefit of, not only my breast milk, but also antibodies from illnesses (such as the Measles & Chicken Pocks) PLUS she received the antibodies from my immunizations. I feel vaccinating your child is a very personal choice. And, just for example, my husband and I both let out a big NO for the Hepatitis vaccination when Sky was 1 day old. Just not something we felt like she needed. By and large, I am very concerned about vaccinations and their relationship to digestive concerns and immune health. Thus, waiting was a comforting compromise for us. As previously stated, there are a few vaccinations Sky will get, but overall, we are very cautions about her health/immune system given my history and I am convinced that we must all be our own best INFORMED advocates for our children. Faithful Reader,–AmberAnd, thank you for this blog!

    • Cbrthousand

      And now the Sunday Times has been ordered to take Brian Deer’s story off the wembmhm from the childhealthsafety website. isn’t this like referring to an article published on the Ku Klux Klan website as evidence that whites are superior?This matter can be resolved when the GMC makes its ruling, not by showing links to unbalanced websites. My study showed a direct link between vaccinations and food allergies. I assume your study is ethically conducted, internally valid, and will survive scrutiny by statisticians (including an appropriate multivariate technique that compensates for known confounding variables and provides odds ratios and confidence intervals). If so please provide a link or reference so we may follow it up (In fact it would be completely unethical not to submit such a study for publication).

  • s.chowdhury

    one booster dose for my grandson was supposed to administered in Sept 2012 which was inadvertently given in Nov 2011 .Shall it has to be given Sept 2012 ignoring the sept 2011 dose?

  • Gautam

    Vaccine may be avoided to be administered to children. Mother’s milk, cow milk, buffaloe milk and sometimes donkey’s milk (practice in some part of India) recommended to enhance immunity among children. All disease mentioned above is curable if infected.

    Dr. Varuna Mallya, please treat disease of children when infected. Avoid unnessary things in the name of vaccine, when child is healthy.

    • Nicole

      Thanks JacobYour comment just seems to be a repaet of the misinformed views and scaremongering of Jeni Barnett that Ben Goldacre writes about. Id encourage you to read his report and the forums that follow the links he supplies carefully; the views you express are misinformed- they stem back to the media MMR scam which originated in the now discredited study by Wakefield.Not vaccinating children is ignorant and putting children’s lives at risk.You are right that there are many things we do not know: but what we do know is, MMR is safe, it has been successful at significantly reducing many serious and life-threatening childhood diseases.Unfortunately, you are merely repaeting some of the more ignorant aspects of post-modern culture, painitng science as the bogey-man out to kill us when, for all its flaws, many of us- perhaps me, perhaps you yourself- would not be alive without it.