Child Immunization

Child Immunization

Elina Dawoodani profile Authored by Elina Dawoodani on 30 May 2014 - 11:06.

Immunization is a process used to make a person's immune system prepared against a particular disease, typically by administering vaccine. It is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year according to World Health Organization.

The process of vaccination involves injecting a small amount of weakened or killed virus/ bacteria into the body to make the person resistant to an infection or disease by stimulating the body's own immune system. The vaccine helps the body to produce antibodies to fight the particular disease. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments and accessible to almost every one even in the remote corners of the world.

There are four types of vaccines:

1. Live virus vaccine: It weakens the virus and used for vaccination.

2. Killed virus vaccine: In this technique, dead or inactive viruses are used.

3. Toxoid vaccine: Toxic substances produced by the bacteria or viruses are injected into the person's body.

4. Biosynthetic vaccine: These vaccines are made with artificial substances that act like bacteria or virus.

The need for immunization:

Immunization plays a key role in prevention of major diseases. With immunization several diseases like tetanus, mumps, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough etc. have become rare in our society. The absence of vaccines could result in return of epidemics of many preventable diseases, resulting in increased illness, disability and death among children and adults.

Safety of Vaccines:

Generally vaccines are safe. Their benefits overweigh their risks. Many researchers have proved that vaccines do not cause any hazardous diseases and are quite safe. There are a few risks though, which are small but undeniable:

  • The foreign substance that is injected in the person's body is weakened or dead. There are chances that if a person's immunity is extremely low, he might catch the infection from the weakened agent. But the possibility is very low, almost negligible.
  • The person might be allergic to the vaccine or some component of the vaccine.
  • Certain live vaccines can be problematic for pregnant women or the developing foetus.

Recommendations by the Indian Institute of Paediatrics on vaccinations:

1. Pertussis Vaccination: (for  whooping cough) It must start at the age of 6 weeks and 3 doses should be given.

2. Rotavirus Immunization: (for Diarrhea) Monovalent RVI and pentavalent RVI should be started at 8 weeks of age and should be given at 2 or 3 dose schedule respectively.

3. Typhoid Vaccination: Immunization Action Plan (IAP) recommends that the vaccine should be given below 1 year of age (preferably between 9-11 months), and an interval of 4 weeks between two vaccinations should be maintained.

4. IAP also recommends Japanese Encephalitis vaccination and Meningococcal vaccination for children.

Refer the chart below for IAP recommended Immunization Schedule for children between 0-18 years:

Immunization Schedule

The different kinds of vaccines are:

1. BCG Vaccine: It plays a key role in prevention of Tuberculosis. It also has a protective effect against leprosy, Buruli ulcer and several types of cancers.

2. Hepatitis B Vaccine: Hepatitis B vaccine prevents Hepatitis B virus infection. It protects one from long term liver problems.

3. Polio Vaccine: Polio causes infection in the throat and gastrointestinal tract. The vaccination prevents one from developing various disabilities.

4. DTP Vaccine: DTP vaccines are given to protect against three infectious diseases- namely diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.

5. Tdap Vaccine: Tdap vaccine is similar to DTP vaccine and also protects against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

6. Pnemococcal Vaccine: It prevents a specific kind of lung disease called pneumonia.

7. PPSV23 Vaccine: It's also a type of Pneumococcal vaccine which protects against 23 types of Pneumococcal bacteria.

8. Rotavirus Vaccine: Prevents diseases that spread through virus of faecal oral route. It also controls diarrheal and other gastrointestinal problems.

9. Measles Vaccine: This vaccine is highly effective in preventing measles. It prevents the illness, disease, disability and death that may occur due to the prevalence measles.

10. MMR Vaccine: It protects one against measles, mumps and rubella.

11. Varicella Vaccine: The vaccination of varicella is taken to protect one from the bout of chickenpox.

12. Hepatitis A Vaccine: This vaccine is taken as a preventive measure against Hepatitis A. It protects one from the incidence of this infection for atleast 15 years.

13. Typhoid Vaccine: This form of immunization protects one from developing typhoid fever.

14. Influenza Vaccine: This is an annual vaccination taken to protect one from influenza flu.

15. Cholera Vaccine: Cholera vaccine is used to protect oneself from cholera. It's an infection of the small intestine and the victim suffers from diarrhoea and vomiting.





*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.