Your little one has entered the phase of early infancy. This is a very important time for the perfect amount of health, babycare and the things that are really required for your baby’s overall growth.
It is a sensitive and struggling period - where there might be chaos but also a time for you to be tied more strongly with your little one. At a time like this not only do you have questions - but you need quick answers as well. Read on to know some of the specifics of the things you need to keep in mind for your baby’s first important years.
The ‘zaroori tika’
First the basics.
Vaccinations are periodic medicinal shots that are important for your baby’s protection, overall health and safety. This is mostly because babies are sensitive enough to easily get infected with various serious diseases.
Although, vaccine-preventable diseases are less common - they have yet to have gone away completely. So, it has become very important for vaccinations to be given to avoid an overall occurrence of sickness.
In the end, you should always make sure to have a proper consultation with a doctor or professional.
This can be for general information, doubts and tips to be careful about. You should also contact a doctor or professional if there are any cases of emergency:
- if your little one is already suffering from a sickness, make sure to get the seriousness checked to ensure no dangerous side effects from the vaccination shot
- many babies might be allergic or experience side effects/reactions that are dangerous. Your doctor should be immediately contacted
- you should also let the most closest professional know of your doubts or knowledge of a tendency to be alergic
The signs to watch out for include anything that may concern you deeply within few minutes to few hours of giving the vaccination:
- very high fever
- unusual behavior
- swelling of the face and throat
- difficulty breathing
- disinterest in eating
- fast heartbeat
- dizziness, and weakness
Thus, it is truly very important that your baby get vaccinations which are the right one at the right time or age.
What is the MMR Vaccine?
The MMR vaccine in its combined form exists since 1971. The vaccine is also called the MPR vaccine.
It’s name comes from the Latin words morbilli, parotitis and rubella that is an abbreviation for mumps, measles along with rubella. These diseases are highly contagious conditions that are spread through contact with an infected person. They are also conditions that have serious symptoms like pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, deafness, meningitis, miscarriage, birth defects, etc.
[Read more about what conditions mumps, measles and rubella are]
All three conditions are ancient diseases. However, recently even the developed countries have become wary of these diseases. Like any vaccination, these conditions may be controlled - but can come back very easily at the same time. As they were deadly common among young infants - it becomes very important to administer the MMR vaccine.
Q: How much does the MMR vaccine cost?
A: Although the vaccine is sold by various drug companies like Tresivac, Trimovax, Merupa, etc for a small amount of about Rs 70-75, the Government of India provides the MMR1 and MMR2 vaccines free of cost.
Q: Is the MMR vaccine safe for my children? Do they cause any side effect?
A: MMR vaccine is being used by 150 nations currently and is considered to be highly safe and effective. The vaccine being used in India currently is produced in India and finds its use in the neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Side effects, if any, are extremely rare. Side effects of MMR vaccine include fever, mild rash and swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck. The mild side effects are less frequent after the second dose and occur within 10-15 days of the shot.
Q: Does MMR have anything to do with autism?
A: Many people, organizations and companies have claimed that the MMR vaccine leads to autism. Most of these claims support the use of competing products. These claims have not yet been proven. In Japan, the MMR vaccination has been discontinued, the vaccines are given as two doses. One a combination vaccine for Measles and Rubella MR and the other Mumps vaccine being given as a single dose. Rates of autism diagnosis have continued to increase, showing no correlation with the change.
When should the MMR Vaccine be given?
Usually, the MMR vaccine is administered in doses - once at around the age of 12-15 months and second at the age of 4-6 years.
Q: What if I do not get my child MMR vaccinated?
A: The Indian government has a protocol to deal with the side effects of the vaccine. There is no reason to not get your child vaccinated.
Q: My child has already taken the MMR dose, should he be vaccinated again?
A: There is no harm in taking the vaccine again. Although your child’s pediatrician may have given the dose, giving a second dose to your child is never a problem.
How should the MMR Vaccine be given?
The MMR vaccine is usually administered via an injection in two doses. The MMR dose one (MMR1) is administered first - followed by the second dose (MMR2).
It consists of three attenuated viruses of the mentioned three diseases.
Q: Why are the three vaccines injected together? Why don’t they give vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella separately? Isn’t that more effective?
A: The combined vaccine was introduced to reduce the pain of three separate injections at the same time. Also to save the time of three different injections administered at different times.
Who should not be vaccinated?
While it is a childhood vaccine, the vaccine is also recommended to adults with the possibility of HIV.
In fact, anyone 18 years of age or older who was born after 1956 - it is a general health benefit that should be practiced.
Sometimes, doctors recommend that infants younger than 12 months should get a dose of the vaccine if they are traveling out of the country. This is mostly because the risk to extract the mentioned diseases can increase - especially even for healthcare workers, college students or international travelers.
Although MMR is an extremely effective and highly safe vaccine, people with following conditions should avoid being vaccinated:
- All general signs to watch out for with any vaccine like unconsciousness or convulsions
- If a child is hospitalized
- If a child is known to be immune-compromised on steroid therapy or immunosuppressant drugs
Now that you know all the things you need to know about the MMR vaccines, go get your child vaccinated at the earliest!