BLK Super Speciality Hospital

How do vaccines help my child?

What is vaccination?
Vaccination protects children against serious diseases by stimulation the immune system against disease germs.

How does vaccine immunity differ from natural immunity?
Normally in most diseases the disease-germ enters the body, produces the disease & the body mounts fighting power against the germ and lastly one recovers from the disease. Here immunity against disease is produced after one has suffered from the disease.

A vaccine is nothing but whole or part of the disease germ, which has been processed or modified in such a way that it loses its capacity to produce disease but it can still induce fighting power in the body when administered. Hence by vaccination one develops immunity without suffering from the disease.

Myths Shattered

Myth: It's better to develop natural immunity than get Vaccinated.
Fact: The difference between Vaccination and natural infection is the price paid for immunity. The price paid for natural immunity (infection) is the physical, economical and mental agony the entire family goes through after one suffers from disease. In Comparison price paid for Vaccination is negligible.

Myth: By relying on vaccines, my child's immune system becomes weak or does not develop at all.
Fact: No, vaccines do not weaken the immune system. As generally thought, vaccines are not ready made protection. Body acts on Vaccine germs and produces antibodies, which fight with disease germs when child comes in contact with disease any time in future.

Myth: Vaccines are known to cause a serious side effect.
Fact: In most cases, vaccines cause no side effects or only mild reactions such as fever or soreness at the injection site. Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects like allergic reactions. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have health problems or known allergies to medications or food.

"Vaccines"- Yes, but how many?
As you know, prevention is always better than cure. Fortunately, due to progress in vaccine science and technology, it is possible to protect children against several serious diseases through vaccination. Normally a baby is exposed to millions of germs daily. It is much better to protect them against diseases through vaccination than let them be at risk & suffer.

Myth: My child does not require vaccines, as he/she is healthy, active & eats well.
Fact: Vaccinations are intended to help keep healthy kids healthy, because vaccines work by protecting the body before disease strikes. If you wait until your child gets sick, it will be too late for the vaccine to work. The best time to immunize kids is when they're healthy.

Myth: Combination vaccines cause more side effects.
Fact: Combination vaccines are as safe and effective as individual vaccines. There are two practical factors in favor of giving a child several Vaccines during the same visit. First, to immunize children as early as possible to give them protection during the vulnerable early months of their lives. Second, giving several vaccines at the same time will mean fewer clinic visits and fewer injections, which saves parents both time and money and may be less traumatic for the child.

Myth: It's ok to skip certain vaccines.
Fact: In general, skipping vaccines is not a good idea. This can leave your child vulnerable to potentially serious diseases that could otherwise be avoided. If you have reservations about any particular vaccines, discuss your concerns with your child's doctor. If your child falls behind the standard vaccination schedule, catch-up Vaccination is also available.

Myth: Vaccine may not be 100% effective; so why vaccinate?
Fact: Vaccines indeed are most effective weapons we have against diseases. They work in 85% to 99% of cases. Smallpox has been eradicated from the face of earth and a dramatic reduction in the incidence of diseases like Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Measles and Mumps are evidence of power of vaccines. Vaccine failure is rare & in such a case the disease is usually mild.

Myth: Vaccines are for babies only. There is no need to Vaccinate after 2 to 4 years of age.
Fact: Diseases continue to affect school going children, adolescents and adults. It is always better to keep your child protected. Few vaccines (like DTP) do not provide life long protection. Protective efficacy of these vaccines wanes off over a period of time, so regular boosters are required.

There are some new vaccines (like HPV) for adolescent girls to prevent cervical cancer. Some vaccines (like Flu) need regular vaccination as the virus keeps changing. For most of the vaccines age is not a barrier. Ask your doctor if you have missed any vaccine as you can always catch-up.

A friendly reminder for parents:
Adults need vaccination too! Check with your doctor to know what vaccines you might need. Your baby is counting on you!

BCG Vaccine

Protects against tuberculosis, mainly severe forms of tuberculosis. TB causes over 3.5 lac deaths in India.

Polio vaccine
Protects against poliomyelitis, a dreaded childhood disease leading to permanent weakness or paralysis of legs, arms or both, which can lead to permanent disability and even death. India is one of the few countries where polio still exists. Two types of vaccines Oral Polio vaccine (OPV) & inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), Which is available as an injection.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Protects against contagious liver disease that result from infection with hepatitis B virus. Disease can cause lifelong infection, liver cancer, liver failure and even death. Hepatitis B virus spreads through contaminated blood and body fluids.

Hepatitis A Vaccine
Protects against contagious liver disease that result from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A mainly spreads through contaminated food & water. In India, Hepatitis A is a common cause of liver infection resulting in jaundice. Besides jaundice, other symptoms are vomiting, loss of appetite & abdominal pain which may last upto 4 weeks. In some children this may progress to liver failure, resulting in hospitalization & even death. Hepatitis A and B are two different forms of viral hepatitis caused by different viruses. Vaccination against Hepatitis B does not protect against Hepatitis A and vice versa.

Oral Rotavirus Vaccine
Protects against Rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhoea & dehydration in infants, resulting in more than 5 lac hospitalization and up to 1.5 lac deaths annually in India. The disease is characterized by vomiting and explosive watery diarrhoea (up to 10 times a day) for 3-8 days. In spite of good hygiene, Rotavirus infection is unavoidable as almost every child is infected with Rotavirus by the age of 5 years.

DTP Vaccine
DTP is a combination vaccine that protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis. Diphtheria causes a thick covering blocking the throat & respiration. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and even death. Tetanus is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body.

Pertussis is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by bacteria. Many children who contract pertussis have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks. The disease is most dangerous in infants.

Tdap vaccine:
Protects kids 10 years and above against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis  as immunity wanes following primary vaccination with DTP vaccine.

Hib Vaccine
Protects against meningitis (an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (lung infection), epiglottitis (a severe throat infection) and other serious infections caused by a type of bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b. the risk of disease is highest for children between 6 months and 2 years of age.

Pneumococcal Vaccine
Protects against pneumonia and meningitis, leading to hospitalization and death caused by some strains of streptococcus pneumonia. Young children (younger than age 5 years) have the highest incidence of serious disease.

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
Protects against contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and can also lead to hospitalization & death.

Measles Vaccine
Protects against to measles a highly contagious and serious disease, with 20% of reported cases experiencing one or more complications (Ear infections, Pneumonia). Complications from measles are more common among a very young children (younger than 5 years of age). It is spread by droplets or direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons.

MMR Vaccine
Protects against 3 common childhood viral diseases namely Measles, Mumps & Rubella (German Measles). Measles: see the measles vaccine section Mumps causes fever, muscle ache and loss of appetite; followed by swelling of salivary glands. In some children complications such as inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/ meningitis), inflammations of the testicles (orchitis). Inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis (and/or) breasts (mastitis), deafness (usually permanent) may be seen. Rubella is an acute viral disease that causes fever and rashes. If a pregnant woman is infected, upto 85% of infants will be born with some type of birth defect, including deafness, eye defects, heart defects and mental retardation.

Chickenpox Vaccine
Protects against disease caused by exposure to the Varicella Zoster Virus. A skin rash with blisters (250-500), covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp and trunk. The virus can also lead to pneumonia or infection of the brain. These complications are rare, but serious. Almost every one suffers from infection once in life. Vaccination is an effective way of preventing suffering from Chickenpox and Herpes.

Typhoid Vaccine
Protects against Typhoid fever a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. Patients suffering from Typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 103 to 104 F, with stomach pain, headache and loss of appetite.

Cervical Cancer (HPV) Vaccine
Protects against Cervical Cancer the most common cancer amongst Indian women; even more common than Breast Cancer. Every year 74,000 women in India die due to Cervical Cancer. The new HPV vaccine can be given after the age of 10 years and is given in 3 doses. Vaccination along with regular screening provides the best possible protection against Cervical Cancer.



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