Immunisation is a way of protecting against serious diseases. Once we have been immunised our bodies are able to fight those diseases more effectively if we come into contact with them.

Why does your baby need immunisation?

Our bodies have a natural defence system against disease. This is called immune system. The immune system produces substances called antibodies which usually fight off infection and prevent disease. However, there are some diseases which damage the health, therefore, immunisations are given to strengthen the child’s immune system to fight with those diseases if they come into contact with them.

When should my baby be immunised?

Kids are immunised as soon as they are born. The immunisation schedule as suggested by Indian Academy of Paediatrics can be seen by clicking here: Immunization Schedule

How does immunisation work?

Vaccines contain a small part of the bacterium or virus that causes a disease or tiny amount of chemicals that the bacterium produces. Vaccines work by causing the body’s immune system to make antibodies. If your child comes into contact with the infection, the antibodies will recognise it and be ready to protect him/her. Only because of vaccines many diseases have been eradicated from many parts of the world such as small pox and polio.

How do we know that vaccines are safe?

Before a vaccine is licensed, its safety and effectiveness have to be thoroughly tested. After they have been licensed, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored. Any rare side effects can then be assessed further. Research from around the world shows that immunisation is the safest way to protect your child’s health.

How will my baby feel afterwards?

Some babies will have side effects such as redness or swelling where they have received vaccination, they may feel irritable, unwell or have fever. These can be taken care of by giving adequate pain and fever medications.

Are some babies allergic to vaccines?

Very rarely, children can have an allergic reaction soon after immunisation. There may be rash or itching affecting a part or all of body. Therefore, children should be observed after vaccination and in case it develops, doctor will be able to take care.

Why does my baby need more than 1 dose of vaccine?

Some immunisations have to be given more than once to build up your child’s immunity. For example, DTaP/HiB/IPV has to be given 3 times to provide full protection in babies. Booster doses are then given to top up the immunity later on in life to maintain long term protection. Is my child at equal risk even if I give him healthy food and good quality of living? Some vaccine preventable diseases spread via respiratory route like Measles, Pertussis and their attack rates are not affected by living standards or standards of sanitation which is close to 100%. Polio is caused by a virus which spreads easily where good sanitary practises don’t prevail yet there have been outbreaks in countries like Netherland, Finland and Israel where there isn’t any issue related to sanitation.

What are the reasons of not giving a vaccination on a particular day?

If your child has fever which is moderate to high grade or the child is irritable, its better to withhold immunisation for that particular day. Mild cough, cold flu like illness, mild diarrhoea doesn’t become a reason for not giving a vaccination on that particular date.

Are vaccinations given only by injectable route?

No, there are few vaccines which are given orally, the example being Oral Polio, Rotarix and Oral typhoid.

What is your travel advisory as far as vaccines are concerned?

There are some diseases pertaining to particular country, therefore, if someone is visiting that country a set of vaccinations are recommended. If travelling to Africa, yellow fever vaccine is recommended, before going for Haj pilgrimage, Meningococcal vaccine is recommended.