Getting an infant vaccinated

Having a baby is a major responsibility, as tremendous care needs to be taken to keep them healthy and protected from various diseases. To build their immunity it is vital for them to be vaccinated when they are infants to protect them from a slew of diseases. Considering the environmental hazards and the increasing risk in health issues it is critical that infants are vaccinated and protected from as many of these threats as possible. Studies indicate that there are annually around 3 million deaths all over the world among kids that could have been prevented with vaccinations on time to protect against diseases like diarrhea, tetanus, polio, pneumonia, hepatitis etc.

Within India many social and public organizations have launched numerous initiatives to bring about awareness in the people about the need to immunize infants. The government has undertaken various steps by setting up free vaccination centers and hosting campaigns. Despite that the numbers of unvaccinated kids are extremely high with around 1.2 million kids dying every year before they reach the age of 5. The main reasons for these high rates of mortality are the lack of awareness among certain sections of society combined with the risk of widespread diseases due to lack of proper hygiene and sanitation.  Estimates by the WHO show that around 22 million kids worldwide do not receive any or the complete doses of vaccination with a steady rise in the numbers annually.

The lack of adequate knowledge about the necessity of getting kids vaccinated along with the overall lack of awareness about necessary vaccinations is the cause for so many children remaining unvaccinated across the country. We share a vaccination chart below for infants as well older kids’ courtesy of the IAP (Indian Academy of Pediatrics).

Age
(completed
weeks/months/years)
Vaccines Doses Content Tag
Birth Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) 1 BCG
Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV 0) 1 OPV 
Hepatitis B (HB 1) 1 Hep -B 
6 weeks Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTP 1) 1 DTP
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV** 1) 1 IPV 
Hepatitis B  (HB 2) 1 Hep -B 
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB 1)  1 HiB 
Rotavirus 1 1 Rotavirus 
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 1) 1 PCV 
10 weeks Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTP 2) 1 DTP
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB 2) 1 HiB 
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV** 2) 1 IPV 
Hepatitis B (HB 3) 1 Hep -B 
Rotavirus 2 1 Rotavirus 
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 2) 1 PCV 
14 weeks Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine (DTP 3) 1 DTP
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB 3) 1 HiB 
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV** 3) 1 IPV 
Hepatitis B  (HB*4) 1 Hep B 
Rotavirus 3**** 1 Rotavirus 
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 3) 1 PCV 
6 months InfluenzaOPV 12 TCV
9 months9-12 months Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 1)Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine 1 MMR
12 months Hepatitis A (Hep A1) 1 Hep -A
13-15 months Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 2) 1 MMR
Varicella 1 1 Varicella 
PCV Booster 1 1 PCV 
16 to 18 months Diphtheria, Perussis, and Tetanus (DTP B1) 1 DTP
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV*** B1) 1 IPV 
Hepatitis A (Hep A2*****) 1 Hep – A 
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB B1) 1 HiB 
4 to 6 years Diphtheria, Perussis, and Tetanus (DTP B2) 1 DTP
Varicella 2 1 Varicella 
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 3/MMRV) 1 MMR 
9 to 14 years Tdap 1 Tdap
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 1 & 2) 1 HPV 
15 to 18 Years Td 1 Tdap
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 1, 2 & 3) 1 HPV

As per IAP-ACVIP Recommended immunization schedule for children aged 0-18 years (2018-19)

*Fourth Dose of Hepatitis B permissible for combinations vaccine only

**In case IPV is not available or feasible, the child should be offered bOPV (3 doses). In such case give two fractional doses of IPV at 6 wk and 14 wk

***b-OPV, if IPV booster (standalone or combination) not feasible

****Third dose not required for RV 1. Catch up to 1 year of age in the UIP schedule.

*****Live attenuated Hepatitis A vaccine: Single done only

******Begin influenza vaccine after 6 months of age, about 2-4 weeks before the season, give 2 doses at the interval of 4 weeks during the first year and then single dose yearly till 5 years of age

Apart from the chart there are certain vaccinations necessary for kids that live in areas of high risk of exposure to infectious diseases like:

  • (HPV) Human Papillomavirus
  • (MCV) Meningococcal
  • Cholera
  • (JE) Japanese Encephalitis

There are also children that are at a higher risk of contracting certain health conditions because of other factors like:

  • Malignancies
  • Chronic cardiac, liver, renal, or hematologic disease
  • Congenital or acquired immune deficiency
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyposplenia
  • Prolonged exposure to radiation therapy, steroids, etc.
  • Frequent travelers
  • Cochlear implant surgery

Another factor for lower vaccination rates is the geographical location where they live. In other cases where the kid is already experiencing critical health issues, the vaccination timetable may need to differ. For both such situations it is vital to check with a pediatrician as to the steps to be taken.

Certain other factors that must be borne in mind when planning to get the child vaccinated include:

  • Always first consult the doctor about whether they need to be fed before getting the vaccine
  • If the child is unwell or has a serious medical condition first consult a doctor
  • Never skip any does and follow the prescribe schedule
  • Never choose to get a child vaccinated before the due time in advance
  • While injections may be painful, they carry no long-term effects
  • After the vaccination it is possible the kid might get fever
  • Comfort the child after the vaccination by keeping them distracted or occupied
  • At the time of vaccination do not exhibit fear as it might frighten the child

If for some reason a dose has been missed, consult the doctor as to when it could be taken. Vaccines are critical for the child to grow and develop into a healthy individual. Therefore, make it a point to always consult the doctor about the vaccine schedule and follow it religiously.