Importance of Child Vaccination
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunization is a proven tool for removing and controlling deadly infectious diseases and is approximated to prevent between 2-3 million deaths every year. Worldwide, an estimated 18.7 million infants are still missing out on basic vaccines.
India has one of the largest Universal Immunization Programs (UIP) in terms of the number of covered beneficiaries, the number of vaccines used, human resources participants and geographical spread.
Points to Remember for Patients
- Always prefer getting your child vaccinated from reputed private or government hospital.
- Always follow the rule “One needle; One syringe” which means that a single needle and syringe should only be used once.
- Ensure both syringe and needle are discarded after use.
- Always follow the immunization schedule strictly as per the guidelines. Keep a check on your immunization record and carry it along before getting any subsequent vaccination done.
- Before getting any vaccine, consult a doctor first.
- Inform your doctor if your baby has any health concerns like fever, cold, etc. However, vaccines can be given in the presence of minor illness.
Why you must Vaccinate Your Child
- Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advanced medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before.
- Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent.
- Immunizations can save your family time and money. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care.
- Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago.
Myths and facts
Below are some common myths and facts about vaccines.
- Myth: I’m breastfeeding, so my baby is protected from infections. Fact: Breastfeeding is not a substitute for vaccination. Breastfeeding provides some protection against certain infections, especially viral respiratory infections, ear infections and diarrhoea. But this protection is incomplete, temporary, and can be overcome if your baby is exposed to large amounts of a specific germ.
- Myth: My child doesn’t need vaccines because these diseases don’t exist anymore. Fact: These diseases still exist, even if they are rare. Thanks to vaccine programs, all vaccine-preventable diseases have declined. But when immunization rates drop, these diseases can come back.
- Myth: It’s better to get one vaccine at a time. Fact: Thanks to combination vaccines, your child can get protection from many different diseases with one injection (shot). Studies show that combination vaccines are safe and effective.
- Myth: The MMR vaccine causes autism. Fact: No, the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Because signs of autism may appear around the same age that children receive the MMR vaccine, some people believe the vaccine causes the condition.
Adults require vaccinations only under special conditions. Vaccines such as hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis, rabies, human papillomavirus vaccine and tetanus are the most common vaccinations given in India to adults.
The pneumococcal vaccine is given to people over 65 years of age as they are very susceptible to pneumonia. Rubella vaccination is given to females who are of reproductive age group. The human papillomavirus vaccine is given to prevent cervical cancer in women.
Dr. Anjani Kumar
Paediatrics and Neonatology
Ratan Hospital for Women And Children