Vaccination (immunizations) – overview
Vaccines are used to boost your immune system and prevent serious, life-threatening diseases.
Vaccination & Immunization Schedule for Indian Children
The recommended vaccination (immunization) schedule is updated every year by the INDIAN ACADEMY OF PAEDIATRICS (IAP). Talk to your provider about specific immunizations for you or your child. Current recommendations are available at the IAP .
HOW VACCINES WORK: ” Vaccines are used to boost your immune system and prevent serious, life-threatening diseases Vaccines “teach” your body how to defend itself when germs, such as viruses or bacteria, invade it:
- They expose you to a very small, very safe amount of viruses or bacteria that have been weakened or killed.
- Your immune system then learns to recognize and attack the infection if you are exposed to it later in life.
- As a result, you will not become ill, or you may have a milder infection. This is a natural way to deal with infectious diseases.
Four types of vaccines are currently available:
- Live virus vaccines use the weakened (attenuated) form of the virus. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine are examples.
- Killed (inactivated) vaccines are made from a protein or other small pieces taken from a virus or bacteria. The flu vaccine is an example.
- Toxoid vaccines contain a toxin or chemical made by the bacteria or virus. They make you immune to the harmful effects of the infection, instead of to the infection itself. Examples are the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.
- Bio synthetic vaccines contain manmade substances that are very similar to pieces of the virus or bacteria. The Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) conjugate vaccine is an example.
WHY WE NEED VACCINES
For a few weeks after birth, babies have some protection from germs that cause diseases. This protection is passed from their mother through the placenta before birth. After a short period, this natural protection goes away.
Vaccines help protect against many diseases that used to be much more common. Examples include tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis, and polio. Many of these infections can cause serious or life-threatening illnesses and may lead to lifelong health problems. Because of vaccines, many of these illnesses are now rare.
SAFETY OF VACCINES
Some people worry that vaccines are not safe and may be harmful, especially for children. They may ask their health care provider to wait or even choose not to have the vaccine. But the benefits of vaccines far outweigh their risks.
Vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and nasal spray flu vaccines contain live, but weakened viruses:
- Unless a person’s immune system is weakened, it is unlikely that a vaccine will give the person the infection. People with weakened immune systems should not receive these live vaccines.
- These live vaccines may be dangerous to the fetus of a pregnant woman. To avoid harm to the baby, pregnant women should not receive any of these vaccines. The provider can tell you the right time to get these vaccines.
Why getting vaccinated is important for your child?
Those who are still in doubt or fear of vaccinating your child, please do read the below benefits you get by immunizing your child.
- Vaccination saves your child’s life
By vaccinating your child you are providing a life long protection for him/her from a range of potentially dangerous or fatal diseases. Once your child has been vaccinated against a disease, his/her immune system can fight that disease more effectively.
- Vaccinations can be trusted
Scientists, doctors and health care professionals test and review vaccines for their safety and efficiency and after that only they are given to your child. Serious life threatening side effects following a vaccination are very very rare.
- Side effects of vaccinations are negligible than actual disease
The side effects following a vaccination are very very mild compared to the symptoms of the actual disease. Side effects of vaccination can include pain, redness or itching at the injection site, fever or dizziness and fatigue. All these are temporary and usually go away in a day or two.
- Helps to completely eliminate diseases
India is now polio free, thanks to the mass pulse polio campaigns conducted by our government. Polio was a very common disease in India. As a result of the mass pulse polio campaigns no new polio cases has been reported in India for the past few years. So polio virus is completely eradicated from our country.
- Provides peace of mind
Once you are vaccinated you no longer have to worry about getting caught with that disease. So peace of mind is guaranteed.
- Saves money and time
Getting vaccinated against particular diseases is a good investment. If you are not vaccinated and later in life if you get any of these diseases it can cost heavily on your wallet and take a lot of your valuable time.
- Good for the community
Yes, by vaccinating you are also taking a step to ensure that the other people in the community are also protected from the disease. By protecting your family with vaccination you are also helping to prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
- Provides protection for the future generation
As a result of the mass immunization programs many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago are no longer to be seen now. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease and now children in this generation are longer under the treat of smallpox. So by vaccinating your child you are helping to eliminate some diseases and providing a protection for future generation too.
Vaccines recommended by IAP for routine use
Talk with your doctor to know whether your child falls under the category of high-risk children and take these vaccines as directed by your doctor.