Vaccines enhance your immunity against specific diseases. They are introduced at birth or during early childhood in order to prevent the onset of life-threatening diseases. Vaccines are administered by injection, orally, or via nasal spray.
Important Vaccines for Children in India
The National Immunisation Schedule (NIS) in India covers vaccination schemes under the Universal Immunisation Program (UIP) along with routine and supplementary immunisation. Here is the UIP immunisation schedule for diseases preventable by vaccines.
Vaccinations not under the Indian Government Immunisation Schedule
A few vaccines do not fall under the immunisation schedule charted by the Government of India. However, you can consult your doctor as to whether your child requires them.
The Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b) is a bacteria-causing disease. The vaccine developed is a conjugate comprising of 5 vaccines put together. This is known as a pentavalent vaccine. A few states that fall under the Universal Immunisation Program (UIP) may not have this vaccine on their routine immunisation schedule. In this case, you can ask your doctor about this vaccine for your child and can have it administered if recommended.
This vaccine is given in combination with DPT and a Hep B vaccine. It protects children from Hib pneumonia and Hib meningitis. Three doses are given at weeks 6, 10 and 14.
Hepatitis A: The first dose should be given after 15 months of age. The next dose should be given at age 13 and two doses for older children with a gap of 4 to 8 weeks.
Varicella: This vaccine protects children from Chickenpox. Two doses should be given at an interval of 6 to 12 months and after 15 months of age.
Rota Viral: This vaccine protects children against Acute Gastroenteritis. Two or three doses are recommended with an interval of 4 to 8 weeks.
Pneumococcal Conjugate: This vaccine helps prevent Pneumonia, Meningitis and Bacteremia. Three doses are given at weeks 6, 10 and 14. One booster shot is also administered between 15 to 18 months of age.
MMR: This vaccine protects your child against Mumps, Measles and Rubella. The first dose is to be given between 12 to 15 months of birth and the second dose should be given between 4 to 6 years of age.
As a new parent, you should take the time to discuss with your doctor in detail all the vaccinations that your child requires. It is better to be safe than sorry, and strong immunity against life-threatening diseases is a step closer to prevention.