What are vaccines?
Vaccines or vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way of creating immunity for a specific disease in human beings. Vaccines are mostly available in the form of shots or drops.
How do vaccines work?
A vaccine contains either a weekend or a dead germ that causes a particular disease, which is injected in a person’s body. The body then starts producing antibodies to fight and counter that injected germ also known as foreign invader. This response from the human body makes it strong enough to have the immunity to fight back when it is exposed to the stronger and real form of disease in future.
Are childhood vaccinations important?
Before vaccines existed many children would die due to diseases like polio and measles, but ever since the existence of vaccinations children’s bodies are strong enough to counter these germs invading their bodies by producing antibodies.
It is really important to get your kids vaccinated timely because the Best Child specialist in Lahore believes that it is better to prevent a disease than to treat it when it occurs.
If your child is not vaccinated, some diseases can become deadly for them because their immune systems may not be strong enough to fight back.
How many childhood vaccinations are there?
Following is the vaccination chart for children from birth till 5 years of age:
- Birth: Before leaving the birthing centre or hospital your baby will receive his first shot of vaccination which is BCG. This vaccine prevents childhood tuberculosis, meningitis and miliary disease. Some hospitals also give polio drops to newborns.
- 6 weeks: At six weeks your baby will receive a vaccination for hepatitis B which can cause swelling in the liver and can be life-threatening for infants. They will also receive Pneumococcal PCV vaccine which provides prevention against 13 pneumococcal bacterias and second dose of polio vaccination too.
- 10 weeks: At 10 weeks your baby will receive their second dose of hepatitis B vaccine and DPT vaccine which provides immunization against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Second dose of PCV, polio drops and a vaccine to prevent rotavirus is also given at this point.
- 14 weeks: At 14 weeks doctors recommend DPT vaccine, polio drops, rotavirus drops, hepatitis B vaccine, and haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine.
- 9 months: When your child is nine months old they will receive a vaccination called MMR which provides immunity against measles, mumps and rubella.
- 12 months: Upon turning one year of age your child will receive a preventive vaccination for hepatitis A and a second dose of MMR vaccine.
- 15 months: At 15 months your child will receive MMRV or MMR depending on the availability of the vaccination. They will also receive a vaccine for Pneumococcal conjugate which provides immunity for pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis.
- 18 months: At 18 months your child will get vaccinations for hepatitis B, influenza type B, hepatitis A and DPT. They will also receive polio drops which prevent them against poliomyelitis.
- 2 years: At 2 years of age your child will receive immunisation shots against typhoid and varicella commonly known as chickenpox. They will also receive a meningococcal conjugate vaccine.
- 4 to 5 years: When your child turns 4 to 5 years of age make sure that they are seeing their paediatrician for their regular health checkup every year. DPT vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine, MMR vaccine, and varicella vaccines are recommended for children between 4 to 5 years of age. However some doctors also recommend polio drops for children in this age group.
Things to do before getting your child vaccinated:
Before you go in for vaccination to a doctor or a nurse for your child make sure that they’re not suffering from any sort of allergies, fits or they have a fever.
Also consider their previous reactions to the past immunisations and the time they had their past immunisation shots because there should be a gap of at least one month between vaccinations. Your child should also not have a gamma globulin injection in the last three months if you’re planning to get them vaccinated.
How to care for your child after their vaccination?
It is pretty normal to notice a little swelling, redness and pain at the injection site, which lasts for 2 to 3 days and in some severe vaccinations for 7 days. Some children also develop a fever after vaccination, in this case you should keep on monitoring your child’s temperature regularly and give them paracetamol according to their doctor’s recommended dose. You should also give plenty of fluids to your child and avoid overdressing them when they are feverish. Some children also feel restless and may refuse feeds after certain vaccinations.
What happens if I miss a vaccination?
Timely vaccination is really important for your children’s well-being. However if you have missed a shot it’s never too late to catch up.
There is no need to start over the entire vaccination schedule if your child has missed a shot in the middle and fallen behind they can always catch up. But you should always take your pediatrician’s opinion regarding this matter and then get your child’s missed vaccinations done.
Parents should try staying on track in accordance with the provided vaccination schedule by the Best Child specialist in Islamabad because timely vaccination is really important for the well-being of your child.