Babies and children are vulnerable to a host of diseases, viruses, and bacteria. The immune systems of babies and children are not strong enough to shield them from these deadly infectious diseases. A child who contracts a disease of this sort may not have a strong enough body to fight against the disease, leading to dire consequences and the consequences may be dire. Diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, influenza, tetanus, whooping cough, and HPV are still in existence, are easily transmittable from one individual to another.
The good part of all this is that all of the diseases that are mentioned above can be prevented with vaccination. Vaccinations can go a long way in ensuring that a child is immune to most diseases, and in the process preventing contraction or suffering too much from the effects in case they do contract it. Even coming in close contact with an individual who already has the disease will either not have any effect or just a mild effect.
Baby vaccinations are required on a timely basis to ensure that your child has the best immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases. No vaccine can ensure complete prevention, but a chance of 90% is better than none. Immunization scheduling is important as your baby is vulnerable to different diseases at different stages of life.
Talk to your pediatrician about vaccination scheduling and have them suggest the best course of action. Babies with underlying conditions or other complications will have to create a schedule catered to them, and your pediatrician is the best person to suggest the optimal course of action.
There is a clear lack of knowledge among parents about the essential vaccinations needed for the baby. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics is working hard towards lessening the number of infant deaths and disabled children by reaching out to as many parents as possible to educate them on vaccination protocols and scheduling. IAP’s Immunize India is a free app available for download on mobile devices and provides a reminder service for vaccinations. Text message vaccination reminders will be sent to the registered phone for 12 years, following the IAPCOI prescribed immunization schedule.
With COVID wreaking havoc worldwide and the COVID vaccine release for children underway, vaccination is more important than it has ever been. Let us look at a breakdown of the vaccines required to be taken at the specific stages in a child’s life.
The most critical time for vaccinations is at birth, as the baby is most vulnerable during the first stages of its life. The vaccines that are required at this point are BCG, Hep B1, and OPV 0.
The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine must be administered at birth or as early as possible up to one year of age. Usually taken on the upper left arm, this is an intradermal vaccine that requires one dose of 0.05ml up to one month or 0.1ml if the baby is older than a month.
Doctors recommend multiple doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine to prevent this deadly disease. The first of these is taken at birth or within 24 hours of the baby being born. This is an intramuscular injection usually administered on the anterolateral side of the mid-left thigh and is one dose of 0.5ml.
OPV or Oral Polio Vaccine is one of India’s most important vaccines that eradicated polio. Undoubtedly the most famous one, two drops of OPV are administered to the baby at birth or within 15 days of delivery.
6-8 Weeks: The second round of vaccinations starts when the baby is six weeks old. The vaccines to be administered at this point are DTwP /DTaP1, Hib-1, OPV-1, Hep B2, PCV 1, Rota-1.
DTaP/DTwP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis) Dose 1 is to prevent the complications mentioned in the name of the vaccine. This vaccine requires multiple doses; hence the one taken at six weeks is mentioned as dose 1.
HiB stands for Haemophilus Influenzae Type B. This influenza vaccine also requires multiple doses as the child grows up, and hence dose 1 has to be taken from 6 to 8 weeks of age.
IPV or Inactivated Polio Vaccine is an injectable vaccine that strengthens the immunity provided by the OPV.
The second dose of Hepatitis B is also administered during this stage in the child’s life.
PCV stands for Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. This is an optional vaccine and is to prevent pneumonia and meningitis. PCV is given in three doses as an injection and is a little expensive.
Rota vaccine is to help protect against rotavirus. Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea. The World Health Organization recommends this vaccine because the rotavirus is a major cause of dehydration in babies. Dose 1 of Rota is taken at this age and is five drops that are administered orally.
10 weeks: The vaccines to be taken when the baby is about two and a half months of age are DTwP /DTaP2, Hib-2, IPV-2, Hep B3, PCV 2, Rota-2. The vaccines taken at ten weeks of age are the second doses taken at six weeks.
14 weeks: As a follow-up to the vaccines taken at six weeks and ten weeks, dose three must be taken when the baby is 14 weeks old. The list of vaccines is DTwP /DTaP3, Hib-3, IPV-3, Hep B4, PCV 3, Rota-3.
6 and 7 Months: Two doses of influenza vaccine are to be taken at 6 and 7 months, respectively, denoted by Influenza-1 and Influenza-2. These two are part of a multiple series of vaccines that are recommended up to 5 years of age.
One dose of TCV or the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine has to be taken between 6 and 9 months.
9 months: When the infant turns nine months old, the first dose of the Mumps, Measles, Rubella vaccine has to be taken. This is indicated as MMR 1. A shot of 1 ml Vitamin A is also recommended along with the MMR dose.
12 Months: As the baby turns one, the first shot of Hepatitis A vaccine can be administered. This is indicated as Hep A 1. Between the ages of 12 to 15 months, a PCV Booster shot is to be taken.
15 Months: At 15 months, the second shot of MMR indicated as MMR 2 is to be administered. A shot of the Varicella vaccine, although optional, is also highly recommended at this point to prevent chickenpox.
16 – 18 Months: At this age, the vaccines required are DTwP /DTaP, Hib, and IPV. These are booster shots to strengthen the already developing immunity of the child.
18 – 19 Months: At 18 to 19 months, the second shots of Hepatitis A and Varicella are to be taken.
2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Year: Annual shots of the Influenza Vaccine are recommended to protect the child against influenza.
4 – 6 years: As the child grows older, vaccination schedules are often forgotten. These are important and need to be adhered to, and booster doses of DTwP /DTaP and IPV are required between 4 and 6. The third dose of MMR is also to be taken at this age.
9 – 15years: Human papillomavirus is a viral infection that’s passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. There are over 100 varieties of HPV. 2 doses of HPV are recommended, especially for girls.
10 – 12 Years: Tdap/Td is the adult version of the Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Vaccine. This is recommended between the ages of 10 and 12. TT injections are recommended at least once a year until the child turns older.
Here is a chart that compiles all of the vaccinations that are required into an easy-to-read format. Save this for future reference and to consult with your pediatrician.
|Time / Age
|BCG, Hep B1, OPV
|DTwP /DTaP1, Hib-1, IPV-1, Hep B2, PCV 1,Rota-1
|DTwP /DTaP2, Hib-2, IPV-2, Hep B3, PCV 2, Rota-2
|DTwP /DTaP3, Hib-3, IPV-3, Hep B4, PCV 3, Rota-3
|6 – 9 Months
|Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine
|MMR 1 (Mumps, Measles, Rubella)
|Hepatitis A- 1
|12 – 15 Months
|MMR 2, Varicella
|16 – 18 Months
|DTwP /DTaP, Hib, IPV
|18 – 19 Months
|Hepatitis A- 2**, Varicella 2
|Year 2, 3, 4
|Annual Influenza Vaccine
|4 – 6 years
|DTwP /DTaP, IPV, MMR 3
|9 – 15years (Girls)
|HPV (2 doses)
|10 – 12 Years
The immunization schedule must be followed to reap maximum benefits out of the protocol. Your pediatrician will recommend the best course of action to be followed and deal with any adverse reactions your baby may have to vaccinations. It is normal for a fever to develop post-vaccination, but do get your pediatrician to check it out if it does. We hope that this puts your fears about vaccinations to rest and encourage you to share this with friends who are soon-to-be parents.