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Immunisation is the safest course through which you can ensure that your child is healthy and safe from all life threatening diseases. Childhood vaccinations not only prevents infectious diseases from harming your child but also protects those around you and your community at large.

"The two public health interventions that have had the greatest impact on the world’s health are clean water and vaccines."- World Health Organization.
childhood vaccinations
So what is vaccination and how does it protect your child?

A human body needs a certain amount of immunity which is the body's defence mechanism to fight off disease-causing organisms. The stronger the immune system means healthier body and mind. The natural immunity present in their baby's body is not enough to fight off certain life threatening diseases leaving the baby vulnerable.

The vaccines which contains a small part of the bacterium or virus (or chemicals) that causes a disease when injected into the baby's body causes the body's natural immune system to make antibodies that fights off infection and diseases. These antibodies will help recognise if the child comes in contact with the infection and be ready to protect him or her. Different vaccinations are needed to protect the child from different diseases. And countries (by regions) have their own immunisation routines for certain life threatening diseases to prepare your child’s immune system to fight off those diseases if they come into contact with them.

Is it really important to vaccinate your child?

That's debatable. There are claims that only when a child's body is naturally exposed to diseases, it tends to develop permanent antibodies that will forever protect the child against diseases. That is, natural exposure to diseases and the body's mechanism to defend its own is the best vaccine. But not all children are the same or have stronger immune system especially coming to life threatening diseases which leaves new parents in confusion. Smallpox, a infectious and dangerous disease is said to be completely eradicated through global vaccination programs throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as certified by WHO. Similarly, vaccines have brought seven diseases under control with Polio and Diphtheria in the list.

If you choose not be vaccinate you child, the most important thing that a parent should do is to research about the mandatory vaccinations, its side effects in terms of statistics, facts on herd immunity, the pros and cons of your decision and your state's exemption laws. (Did anyone not get their baby(s) immunised? -Netmums)

Recommended Vaccines

The below list of vaccines for children recommended from birth will help you to have a basic understanding of all the vaccines that are administered to your baby.
  • Baccille Calmette Guérin vaccine (BCG) - Tuberculosis
  • Polio vaccine (OPV/IPV) - Polio
  • Diphtheria Vaccine (DTwP)
  • Tetanus Vaccine (TT)
  • Pertussis (DTwP) - Whooping Cough
  • HIB Vaccine (DTwPHibHepB) - Haemophilus Influenzae
  • Rotavirus Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) - protects against pneumococcal infections
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine(DTwPHibHepB) - Hepatitis B
  • Measles Vaccine (MMR)
  • Mumps Vaccine (MMR)
  • Rubella Vaccine (MMR)
  • Typhoid Vaccine 
  • Hepatitis A Vaccine
  • Chickenpox or Varicella Vaccine
  • HPV Vaccine (Cervical Cancer)

DTwP - a class of combination vaccines against three infectious diseases in humans namely diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus.
DTwPHibHepB - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae and Hepatitis B vaccine.

In the United Kingdom, the details of the vaccines or the routine childhood immunisation schedule (UK) is often updated in the UK Government website and is available to download for free.

In India, the immunization schedule for children is somewhat similar to other countries but varies with epidemiology and duration at which the vaccination is done. The infographic of top 16 vaccinations for children provides you with a comprehensive list of vaccines that your child needs to take along with information about each vaccines. The android app Vaxins helps you send reminders for your child's vaccines.

As different countries have different vaccination program as a part for being regularly reviewed to offer the best protection against preventable diseases, consulting your child’s paediatrician to get the right vaccination of your child is critical. And if you are a parent who had been travelling from one country to another for different reasons, getting your child updated immunisation record is essential as it will help to decide whether you child is in-line with the other country's vaccination schedule.

Also, as new vaccines becomes available, vaccination programme can be changed from time to time making it necessary to be aware of your country's protection program. The following information available in WHO (World Health Organisation) for global citizens comes in handy - Immunization schedules by disease covered by antigens.

vaccination 2016
IAP recommended vaccines for routine use - Click the image for larger view
Impact of Vaccination

The impact of vaccination extends beyond prevention of specific diseases in individuals in terms of Societal Health Impact and Economic Impact. Vaccines proves an effective way in controlling diseases and its severity, protects any unvaccinated population (through Herd protection and Source drying) and promotes societal economic growth (in terms of Health-care and other savings for society).


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