Importance of Immunization - Vaccination Schedule for Infants and Toddlers in India

Importance of Immunization - Vaccination Schedule for Infants and Toddlers in India

The arrival of vaccination is a blessing for humanity. Every day, millions of people are saved through immunization. As a parent, you can do anything to prevent your child from disease and maladies and keep them up and healthy. Vaccination is a crucial method to keep off those diseases at bay.

Vaccination

The term vaccination also referred as inoculation, means providing protection or immunity against certain diseases. It can be done either through naturally contacting the disease and making recovery against it or through manufactured antigen or vaccine.

In other words, when a human being or animal contract an infection or disease, the immune system develops antibodies that fights the disease. The immune system remembers and prepares itself to fight the disease in future. This is exactly the job of manufactured vaccination. The vaccines imitate certain disease and when injected into the body, it prompts the immune system to develop antibodies to fight against that disease.

Why are vaccines given so early in childhood?

This is an important question and many people are still not aware of. The reason why vaccines are given early is because immune system of infants and toddlers are weak and they are more prone to contracting the disease as compared to adults.

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Can vaccination provide better resistance than natural immunity?

In terms of naturally occurring infection, the body can provide immunity but there are risks of getting serious complications. For instance, the infection of chickenpox (varicella) can lead to pneumonia or polio infection can cause permanent paralysis of body parts. Similarly, haemophilus (Hib) infection can result in meningitis or even permanent brain damage.

So vaccination provides protection against these serious diseases. This removes the dependency on the body and the immune system of first contracting the disease and then recovering from it.

Are there any side effects of vaccination?

Any type of vaccination can cause side effects, but these side effects are minor like soreness at the injection side and low grade fever. The immense benefits of vaccination outweighthe risk posed by these minor side effects. However, children who are allergic to certain vaccination should not be given vaccination shots.

Vaccination program in India

The government of India initiated the Universal Immunization Program (UIP) in the year 1985 which covered diseases including polio, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, pertussis and childhood tuberculosis. The government often works in conjunction with WHO and UNICEF to improve its vaccination program across the country.

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Vaccination schedule of children in India

Under the Universal Immunization Schedule (NIS), following vaccines are covered.

At birth

Vaccines: BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin)

Immunity Against: Tuberculosis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Oral polio vaccine (OPV 0)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Hepatitis B (Hep – B1)

Immunity Against: Hepatitis B

Doses: 1


6 weeks

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTwP 1)

Immunity Against: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV 1)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Hepatitis B  (Hep – B2)

Immunity Against: Hepatitis B

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib 1)

Immunity Against: Meningitis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Rotavirus 1

Immunity Against: Acute gastroenteritis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 1)

Immunity Against: Pneumonia, Meningitis, Bacteremia

Doses: 1


10 weeks

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTwP 2)

Immunity Against: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV 2)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib 2)

Immunity Against: Meningitis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Rotavirus 2

Immunity Against: Acute gastroenteritis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 2)

Immunity Against: Pneumonia, Meningitis, Bacteremia

Doses: 1


14 weeks

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccine (DTwP 3)

Immunity Against: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV 3)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib 3)

Immunity Against: Meningitis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Rotavirus 3

Immunity Against: Acute gastroenteritis

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 3)

Immunity Against: Pneumonia, Meningitis, Bacteremia

Doses: 1


6 months

Vaccines: Oral polio vaccine (OPV 1)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Hepatitis B (Hep – B3)

Immunity Against: Hepatitis B

Doses: 1


9 months

Vaccines: Oral polio vaccine (OPV 2)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR – 1)

Immunity Against: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella

Doses: 1


9 – 12 months

Vaccines: Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine

Immunity Against: Typhoid

Doses: 1


12 months

Vaccines: Hepatitis A (Hep – A1)

Immunity Against: Hepatitis A

Doses: 1


15 months

Vaccines: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 2)

Immunity Against: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Varicella 1

Immunity Against: Chickenpox

Doses: 1

Vaccines: PCV booster

Immunity Against: Pneumonia

Doses: 1


16 to 18 months

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus (DTwP B1/DTaP B1)

Immunity Against: Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV B1)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib B1)

Immunity Against: Meningitis

Doses: 1


18 months

Vaccines: Hepatitis A (Hep – A2)

Immunity Against: Hepatitis A

Doses: 1


2 years

Vaccines: Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (Booster)

Immunity Against: Typhoid

Doses: 1


4 to 6 years

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus (DTwP B2/DTaP B2)

Immunity Against: Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Oral polio vaccine (OPV 3)

Immunity Against: Polio

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Varicella 2

Immunity Against: Chickenpox

Doses: 1

Vaccines: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR 3)

Immunity Against: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella

Doses: 1

Treating the side effects

As mentioned above, vaccination may lead to mild effects. The doctor may recommend following treatment based on the type of vaccination.

  1. BCG – Small bumps may appear 3-4 weeks after taking this dose. No treatment is required.
  2. DPT – Mild fever, pain and swelling at the site. Paracetamol drops may be suggested.
  3. Measles – Mild fever 4-10 days after taking the dose. Paracetamol may be recommended if required.
  4. HIB/Typhoid – May cause mild fever or pain. Paracetamol drops may be required.

If your baby is suffering too much, talk to the doctor without delay.

Bottom line

Vaccination has become an indispensable part of our life. If you are ignoring these important vaccines, you are playing with the life of your baby. So, better safe than sorry. Always follow the doctor-recommended chart. Ask your doctor if there are other vaccines that are not included in the above chart.