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Everything About Childhood Diseases, Vaccines For Children And Immunization Schedule

Everything About Childhood Diseases, Vaccines For Children And Immunization Schedule

It is believed that a mother’s unconditional love and constant care can protect her baby from any harm that may come his way. But like every warrior needs his sword and shield, every mom needs healthy food and vaccination for her baby to shield him from multiple diseases that may disrupt his tender immune system.

It is important for all the mothers to be aware of the vaccinations for children, what diseases they help to prevent and when to get each vaccine shot. We have prepared a detailed guide with everything you need to know about vaccination for children to give you all the information before you prepare a vaccination chart or immunization schedule for your little one. 

Index:

• What is immunity and how does our immune system work?

What are vaccinations? Why should children get vaccinated?

Common diseases in children and their vaccinations

   - Tuberculosis - BCG

   - Hepatitis - Hep A vaccine, Hep B vaccine

   - Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B) - Hib vaccine

   - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis - DTaP vaccine

   - Measles, Mumps, and Rubella - MMR vaccine, MMRV vaccine

   - Polio (Poliomyelitis) - Inactivated poliovirus (IPV), Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)

   - Rotavirus infection - Rota V

   - Typhoid Fever - Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV)

   - Pneumococcal infections - PCV

   - Flu or Influenza - Influenza vaccine

   - Chickenpox - Varicella vaccine, MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella) vaccine

   - Cholera - Dukoral®, Shanchol™

   - Japanese Encephalitis (JE) - JENVAC®, JEEV®, SA 14-14-2

Vaccination chart with timelines for vaccine administration

What is immunity and how does our immune system work?

Our immune system is a complex network made of special cells, organs, tissues and proteins. Immunity is the shield or biological defence that our immune system provides us against infections, diseases, allergies and autoimmune diseases.

When foreign particles (antigens) that are not recognized by the immune system such as germs, pollen, dust etc enters our body, as a defense mechanism our immune system generates specific protein particles known as antibodies to fight those invasive foreign particles. Immunity is developed against these particles preventing them from harming us again as the antibodies get familiar and skilled in killing off these germs once and for all.

What are vaccinations? Why should children get vaccinated?

Vaccination syringes, ampules, medicine etc.

Brief overview about vaccinations:

Don’t get alarmed when we tell you that vaccines are made from very small amount of weak or dead pathogens that can cause diseases, as each vaccine goes through years of proper safety and effectiveness testing so make sure they do not cause any harm. The ingredients in vaccine such as the antigens and adjuvants, help your immune system build immunity to a specific disease by producing specific types of antibodies, a process known as Immunization.

Vaccination is the act of getting a vaccine shot, specifically scheduled according to the age and health of the baby to ensure optimum capability of generating the required defense mechanism that in turn helps the baby develop a fully functioning, stronger immune system.

How vaccination work:

Have to ever noticed that one person don’t generally get chickenpox twice in their lifetime? It is because once the pathogens that causes chickenpox gets inside the human body, our immune system produces antibodies strong enough to fight those viruses. After those viruses are destroyed, the antibodies remain in the body and thereby even if those viruses enter our body again, these antibodies easily fights them away.

That’s exactly how vaccines work. When you get a vaccine shot, you actually expose your immune system to a small amount of that particular disease causing pathogens (germs, viruses, bacteria etc.) thereby stimulating the immune system to generate antibodies giving us immunity against that particular disease in the future.

Why to get vaccinated:

As mentioned earlier vaccination is essential to induce the immune system to create antibodies that gives us immunity against certain diseases. There are many life-threatening diseases that can attack us, especially the children as even though they are born with an immune system, it only develops and becomes stronger as they grow older. Through mother’s breast milk along with nutrients, a good amount of disease-fighting substances such as secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) are transferred to the baby to guard the baby against those specific pathogens, creating protection based on whatever the baby gets exposed to.

But only mother’s milk is not enough to fight against the stronger ones, which is why vaccination is mandatory for children. Vaccines for children are the most effective and safe preventive measures that works best for your baby when given at specific ages. Some may need to be given at properly spaced doses throughout the early years. It is only because for some diseases, your child needs to build a stronger immunity that keeps functioning properly throughout his life.

[Read more: Why Is It Necessary To Get Your Child Vaccinated And Immunized?]

Common childhood diseases and their vaccinations

You may ask why vaccination starts at such a young age of the baby. It is because the immune system of babies are not as strong and functional as that of an adult which puts them in the risk of getting highly affected by the diseases. Vaccination helps them boost up the immune system’s strength by introducing it to very small doses of pathogen. A proper vaccine schedule is basically like the training sessions or rehearsals before the big football match or dancing competition.

Now that you know how vaccines work and why they are so important, let us brief you about the common childhood diseases that your child may get endangered by and the available vaccines for children that you can include in your child’s immunization schedule.

Tuberculosis (TB):

• It is a highly contagious, infectious and a common childhood disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB) that spreads into the air from the coughs and sneezes of an infected person.

• Symptoms generally include cough (sometimes blood-tinged), fever, night sweats, weight loss.

• BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) is the widely accepted and most effective tuberculosis vaccine that must be added to a baby’s immunization schedule.

[Read more - BCG Vaccine: Everything You Need To Know]

Hepatitis:

• It is an inflammatory condition of the liver tissue, commonly caused by viral infection. Autoimmune hepatitis occurs when the immune system generates antibodies against our liver tissue.

• Hepatitis show no symptoms in some people but some may develop poor appetite, vomiting, tiredness, yellow discolouration of the skin and whites of the eyes, abdominal pain or diarrhoea etc.

• Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A vaccines for children are Hep A vaccine - (Hep A1 vaccine and Hep A2 vaccine).

• Hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B vaccines for children are Hep B vaccine - (Hep B1 vaccine, Hep B2 vaccine and Hep B3 vaccine).

[Read more: Everything You Need To Know About Hepatitis B In Children]

Vaccination For Newborns

Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B):

• A life-threatening disease or infection, particularly in children, caused by a bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae type b, commonly known as Hib. It can lead to quick rise in many types of severe invasive disease as meningitis, pneumonia, cellulitis, epiglottitis etc.

• Symptoms include severe headache, convulsions or seizures, severe drowsiness, difficulty waking up, stiff neck, loss of consciousness or difficulty with breathing.

• The Hib vaccine protects children and adults from Hib disease whereas a combination of DTap-IPV/Hib vaccine older babies from related Hib diseases, tetanus, diphtheria, polio etc.

[Read more: Influenza type B (Hib) Vaccine: What You Need To Know]

Diphtheria:

• It is a serious and contagious bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.

• Complications such as myocarditis, inflammation of nerves, kidney problems etc. may arise. In severe cases of diphtheria, the airway may get blocked and neck may get swelled due to enlarged lymph nodes.

• The two diphtheria vaccines available for children that you must add to your child’s immunization schedule are: DTaP vaccine or DTP vaccine (young babies) and Tdap vaccine (Age: 11-64 years).

[Read more: The DTaP vaccine: Schedule, Usage and Recommendations]

Tetanus (Lockjaw):

• It is a potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani that produces a toxin that affects the brain and nervous system, inducing painful muscle contractions and interfering with breathing ability eventually leading to death.

• DTaP vaccine is the mostly used Tetanus vaccine, also known as Tetanus Toxoid (TT) that provides immunization from diseases like Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping cough).

Pertussis (Whooping cough):

• It is a highly contagious and particularly dangerous respiratory disease for infants that is caused by Bordetella pertussis.

• DTaP vaccine, which is a safer version of the older DTP vaccine, that provides immunization from diseases like Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping cough).

[Read more: 7 Signs Your Baby Has Whooping Cough]

Measles:

• It is a highly contagious and infectious childhood disease that spreads through contact with infected mucus or saliva or by respiratory droplets released into the air from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

• Symptoms include dry cough, runny nose, fever, inflamed eyes or conjunctivitis, sore throat, watery eyes etc.

• MMR vaccine and MMRV vaccine that provides immunization against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella, is among the most important vaccines for children that must be added to each baby’s immunization schedule.

[Read more - MMR Vaccine: Everything You Need To Know]

Mumps:

• It is contagious childhood disease caused by the mumps virus, Rubulavirus that affects the parotid glands, a major salivary gland.

• Symptoms includes swollen, painful salivary glands, fever, headache, fatigue and appetite loss.

• MMR vaccine and MMRV vaccine that provides immunization against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella, is among the most important vaccines for children that must be added to each baby’s immunization schedule.

Rubella:

• Rubella or German measles or Three-day measles, caused by Rubella virus spreads through direct contact with the mucus or saliva or respiratory droplets released into air by cough or sneeze of the infected person.

• Symptoms include rashes, mild fever, headache etc that generally lasts for three days.

• MMR vaccine and MMRV vaccine that provides immunization against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella, is among the most important vaccines for children that must be added to each baby’s immunization schedule.

Oral Vaccination For Children

Polio (Poliomyelitis):

• It is a crippling, contagious and infectious childhood disease caused by the poliovirus that causes nerve injury. Paralysis, breathing difficulty and in severe cases, also death.

• Even though constant use of polio vaccine has mostly eliminated polio, few countries are still in the need of polio vaccines for children like Inactivated poliovirus (IPV) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).

Rotavirus:

• It is the most common and contagious virus that causes most diarrhoeal diseases such as gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestine) in infants and young children. Almost every child gets infected with Rotavirus by the time they reach their 5th year.

• Symptoms include such as severe watery diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, extreme dehydration that can lead to, in extreme cases, death.

Rotavirus vaccines (Rota V) have been proved to very effective against these viruses.

[Read more: Is Rotavirus vaccine really important for your baby?

Typhoid Fever:

• It is a serious and highly contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi that spreads through contaminated water and food.

• Symptoms include high fever, headache, stomach pain, weakness, vomiting and loose stools.

• It is always better to prevent it with the typhoid vaccines for children, Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) rather than opting for typhoid medicines later on.

Pneumococcal:

• It is highly infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, which can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, bacteremia/sepsis (infection of the blood), otitis media (middle-ear infection).

• PCVN (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) and PPSV (Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) are the available pneumococcal vaccine known to be among very effective vaccines for children.

Chickenpox (Varicella):

• A very common and highly contagious but not life-threatening infection caused by Varicella zoster virus.

• Symptoms of chickenpox include blisters, rashes, spots spread across the body.

• Vaccination for chickenpox are of two types: the Varicella vaccine and MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella) vaccine.

[Read more: Everything you need to know about the Varicella Vaccination]

Cholera:

• It is an infection of the small intestine caused by a bacteria named Vibrio cholerae.

• It is characterized by severe watery diarrhoea and vomiting leading to dehydration and in extreme case if untreated, death.

• Cholera vaccines are generally oral vaccines. Two WHO qualified cholera vaccines are available: Dukoral® and Shanchol™. Shanchol™ is not only cheaper (Rs. 120 per dose) than Dukoral® (Rs. 320 per dose) but is also very effective.

Japanese Encephalitis (JE):

• It is an infection of the brain, more common in rural areas, caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

• Currently available Japanese encephalitis vaccines in India are: JENVAC®, JEEV® and SA 14-14-2 (WHO approved).

Immunization schedule for children (from birth to 10-12 Years)

Now that you are well-informed with all that you needed to know about vaccination, here is a list of vaccines for children or an immunization schedule from birth for babies in India that you can refer to:

Immunization schedule for children (Part I)
Immunization schedule for children (Part II)
Immunization schedule for children (Part III)

 

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