Child Vaccinations: Introduction

Child Vaccinations | When & Why To Vaccinate To Keep Your Child Healthy

Child vaccinations: What are vaccines, types, safety, side effects, how they work, precautions & what you should do

What is vaccination?

Child vaccinations: Vaccination or Immunisation is introducing dead or attenuated bacteria or viruses in our bodies so that we can fight the real ones better.

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How does it work?

Vaccination helps make the body stronger against a particular infection.
The body fights infections using the immune system which is like our own personal police system in our bodies.

There are many cells involved in fighting infection. The two main ones are T cells and B cells.

The immune system produces antibodies or specific ‘bullets’ to kill the ‘bad guys’. Thus the body is stronger when fighting a disease which it has already fought against before.

Vaccination involves showing the photograph of the ‘bad guys’ either a particular virus or bacteria so that they produce the ‘bullets against them. These viruses or bacteria in the vaccines are killed or attenuated so that they do not cause the infection only help to produce the antibodies.

Vaccination thus strengthens the immune system to fight the real infection.

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Child Vaccinations

History of vaccination

The first ever vaccine was given by Edward Jenner in 1796, who realized that people exposed to Cowpox did not get Smallpox. Since then medicine has created 28 different vaccines that fight against deadly infections like Cholera, Polio, Whooping Cough etc.

Vaccination has become an important part of preventative medicine that has done much to lower death and disease caused by dreaded germs.

What kind of vaccines are there?

  • As mentioned earlier the vaccines can be dead bacteria or viruses that have the same structure so help the immune system produce antibodies but not the infection
  • The attenuated bacteria or viruses are live but weakened so that they do not cause the disease but help to produce the antibodies. These should not be given in an immunocompromised child.
  • Subunits or toxoids

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Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are generally safe. They protect our children against grave diseases
They do have some side effects like localized swelling and pain or fever. Rarely a more serious side effect like excessively prolonged crying or very very rarely a convulsion can occur.

The greatest controversy is the association of vaccines with autism. As of now studies have not shown a robust relationship between the two. If you are worried because of delayed development or family history of autism talk to your doctor about an alternative schedule.

Child Vaccinations | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/pediatrician/child-vaccinations/ When & Why To Vaccinate To Keep Your Child Healthy

Child Vaccinations

 

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What should you do if your child has missed a dose?

Often when parents relocate to the UAE or because the child was unwell, vaccinations may be missed. There is a catch-up schedule that can be advised by your doctor.

Is it okay to give vaccines if the child is unwell?

The doctor will examine your child before he or she recommends the vaccines. Minor coughs and colds usually do not interfere with the vaccines.

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What are the side effects of vaccinations and what should a parent do?

Common minor reactions occur as part of the immune response or as a reaction to one of the vaccine components like stabilizers and preservatives. They usually occur within 1 or 2 days (except MMR – 6 to 12 days) and do not last for more than 24 to 48 hours.

  • If there seems to be swelling or tenderness over the injection site, cool compresses are advised.
  • If the baby gets a fever of 38 C or more, paracetamol can be given
  • Sometimes the child can have a rash especially after MMR or Chickenpox
  • There may be mild malaise and irritability
  • If the baby has excessive crying or any more unusual problems call the doctor

What precautions should the parent take?

The baby especially should be kept quiet and well hydrated after vaccination.
Inform the doctor if your child has an allergy to the vaccine component e.g. severe egg allergy and Influenza vaccine.

Do not give live vaccinations to an immunocompromised child
Rotavirus vaccine cannot be given after the baby is 6 months old. Hence the first dose has to be given at around 2 to 4 months.

Child Vaccinations | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/pediatrician/child-vaccinations/ When & Why To Vaccinate To Keep Your Child Healthy

Child Vaccinations

Child vaccinations: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions patients ask about vaccination or clicking here

Vaccination schedule for UAE

Birth to 2 weeks BCG

Hep B

mandatory
2 months
  • DPT+Polio+Hib+Hep B (6 bugs)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Rota
Mandatory

Rota Optional

4 Months
  • DPT+Polio+Hib+Hep B (6 bugs)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Rota
Mandatory

Rota Optional

6 Months
  • DPT+Polio+Hib+Hep B (6 bugs)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Rota
Mandatory

Rota Optional

9 Months Meningococcal Meningitis Optional
12 months
  • MMR
  • Chicken Pox
  • Meningococcal Meningitis booster
Only MMR mandatory
18 Months
  • DPT-Polio-Hib
  • Pneumococcal
mandatory
2 years
  • Hep A (2 doses at 6-month interval)
  • Typhoid
Both Optional
4 to 6 years
  • DPT-Polio
  • MMR
  • Chicken pox
Only Chickenpox  optional
10 to 12 years
  • Tetanus or Tetanus +Pertussis combo booster
  • Meningitis booster
 
Others
  • Influenza – every year
  • Human Papillomavirus Vaccine for girls 9 to 11 years (3 doses)
Optional

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Child Vaccinations: Introduction was last modified: April 4th, 2017 by Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

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