Babies inherit protection against certain diseases through antibodies transfer from the mother, while in womb. After birth, babies who are breastfed, continue to get additional antibodies through breast milk. But these antibodies provide them protection that lasts for a limited period only.
Immunization is a way of building long term immunity to specific diseases that could otherwise be life threatening. Components of immunization (vaccination) are weakened or dead micro-organisms that no more have the potential to cause a full borne disease.
These micro-organisms help to introduce their infectious agent into our immune system and in turn develop defense mechanisms to combat all such diseases throughout the life, whenever attacked by any such offensive agent.
Important vaccinations that should necessarily be provided to a child may vary in some regard from country to country. So do consider your area of ethnicity, while framing the immunization list.
List of Immunization in children
BCG and oral polio vaccines need to be given to child soon after birth or within 14 days of birth.
Polio Immunization (IPV)
Three doses of Inject able Polio vaccine (IPV) are given from 1.5 months to 4 months, one dose every consecutive month. The fourth dose is given around 18 months of age and the last dose after completion of four and half years.
Diptheria -Pertussis-Tetanus Immunization (DPT)
It is given as five dose series starting from one and half months of age and then after a gap of one month till completion of third dose. The fourth dose is to be given around 18 months of age. The last fifth dose has to be given after completion of four and a half years of age.
Hepatitis B immunization (HepB)
This three dose series is given along with the schedule of DPT vaccine as above and nowadays available together as one combined vaccine for DPT-HepB-HIB, in order to avoid injecting the baby more number of times.
Haemophilus Influenza Type b (HIB)
HIB is provided as four dose series with first three doses given in form of combined vaccine DPT-HepB-HIB and the fourth booster dose of HIB provided around 18 months of age.
The flu shot vaccine is first given at 6 months and then the second dose follows at interval of one month.
MMR vaccine is given in two dose format with first dose at 15 months and the second one between 4 – 6 years of age. Additionally, one dose of measles vaccine is given at 9 months too for countries like India where measles is more prevalent and widespread due to high population density.
The vaccine is provided after completion of first birthday but before turning 15 months old.
Hepatitis A (Hep A)
Two dose series should be given twice from 12 -23 months with the interval of 6 months in between the two doses.
This two dose vaccine is first given on completion of 2 years and then the second booster dose around the age of 4.5 years.
Optional vaccines are not mandatory to be given but it is up to the caregiver of the child to decide based on general health of child and the area of living.
Rotavirus Vaccine (RV)
Rotavirus infection causes diarrhea in infants and need to be vaccinated before completion of the first year. But since virus is not common at all places, one could decide based on the place of living.
Pneumococcal bacterium is a leading cause of infections of pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and blood infections. Children under two years of age are susceptible to serious pneumococcal infections.
A serious bacterial infection known as Bacterial meningitis is rare but a very contagious disease that may spread easily among kids living in close quarters.