Childhood vaccinations involve a process of artificially inducing immunity against various viruses and bacteria. Mamas, in this article, we are going through vaccinations of babies up to 2 years. There are booster doses and other vaccines after 2 years of age, which will be discussed in another article. There are mainly two types of vaccines- live vaccines and killed vaccines.
Why are childhood vaccinations important?
Vaccinations are very important since they protect your child from serious infections such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal and H.Influenza. They also help to reduce the spread of these infections in the community by reducing or eliminating the spread between individuals. Unlike the prevaccine era, people now live longer and have healthier lives, thanks to vaccines. Immunization currently prevents 3.5-5 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles. Although there are some controversies over safety, the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the possible side effects.
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is a dead or weakened version of the bacteria or virus that causes the disease. After vaccinations, the immune system produces antibodies that protect them from getting the disease when children are exposed to the actual disease. There are multiple doses and booster doses that will stimulate the immune system to produce an adequate amount of antibodies for full protection.
Vaccination schedule up to 2 years of age (DHA-GUIDELINES)
- At Birth – BCG, Hep B-1
- End of 2 months – DTAP-1, Hib-1, Hep B-2, IPV-1 (6-in-1 vaccine called Infanrix hexa), Rotavirus-1 and Pneumococcal-1.
- End of 4 months – DTAP-2, Hib-2, Hep B-3, IPV-2 (6-in-1 vaccine called Infanrix hexa), Rotavirus-2 and Pneumococcal-2.
- End of 6 months – DTAP- 3, Hib-3, Hep B-4, IPV-3 (6-in-1 vaccine called Infanrix hexa), Rotavirus-3 (if pentavalent vaccine) and Pneumococcal-3.
- End of one year – MMR-1 and Varicella-1.
- End of 18 months – DTAP, Hib, OPV/IPV-1st booster (5-in-1 vaccine called Pentaxim), MMR-2.
- 6 months and above – Influenza vaccine 1st dose, 2nd dose after 1 month, then booster dose every year. Recommended before the start of winter every year.
- End of 9 months – Meningococcal 1st dose
- 12 months and above- Hep A 1st dose, 2nd dose after 6 months to 1 year of 1st dose.
Vaccines in detail
- BCG vaccine is given at birth which protects against severe forms of TB, such as TB meningitis in children, along with the first dose of the Hep B vaccine.
- The Infanrix Hexa or the 6-in-1 vaccine is a single injection to protect your baby against 6 conditions such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), polio, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis).
- The Pentaxim or the 5-in-1 vaccine is a single injection to protect your baby against 5 conditions such as diphtheria, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), polio, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis).
- Rotavirus vaccines are either given in a 2-dose schedule or 3-dose schedule. The first dose of rotavirus should be initiated before 15 weeks of age. This vaccine protects against severe diarrhea caused by rotavirus.
- Pneumococcal vaccines protect against Streptococcus pneumoniae which causes pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis.
- MMR vaccine protects against Mumps, Measles and Rubella
- Varicella vaccine protects against varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox
- The flu vaccine protects against the main types of flu viruses.
- The meningococcal vaccine protects against meningococci which causes meningitis and sepsis.
- Hepatitis vaccines (A and B) protect against viruses causing liver infections.
The common side effects of vaccines
- Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- Fever and irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Mild rashes and swelling of glands in the neck.
- Absolute contraindication is a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose or to a vaccine component. Precaution in cases of moderate or severe acute illness, immunocompromised children.
An insight from mamahood
Mamas, hope you got some basic knowledge of vaccinations through this article. Please maintain a careful record of your child’s vaccinations. In UAE, the schools will ask for the complete immunization record at the time of admission. Make sure your doctor has signed and mentioned the dates of vaccinations. If your child misses a vaccine because of any illness, don’t worry, the doctor will resume it after the child gets well. Vaccine doses administered less than 4 days before the minimum age or interval are considered valid. In case of any minor illness, such as a cough, cold, mild fever, or diarrhea, there is no need to postpone the vaccinations.