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Important Vaccines for your Newborn

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This statement cannot be any truer. By vaccinating or immunising your child, you will be giving them the best protection against diseases.

Childhood immunisation is when a vaccine is given to your child at a young age, or even at birth, to protect them against a particular disease (which may be fatal). This vaccine will help build up the immune system to produce antibodies that will help fend off the particular disease. Some vaccines are able to provide lifelong immunity once the course is completed, while others have to be ‘recharged’ at a later time. This top-up dose is known as a booster. By having your child immunized, you not only protect your child from that particular disease, but also preventing this disease from spreading to other, thereby helping with the eradication of it!


Types of Immunisations and suggested age for the vaccine

BCG Vaccine

BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guéin) vaccine is mainly used against tuberculosis, commonly known as TB. TB is an infectious disease (spreads through the air) that usually affects the lungs and if left untreated, will kill about half of those affected. This vaccine can be administered after birth. One dose is recommended in healthy babies as close to the time of birth as possible, however, babies with HIV/AIDS should not be vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Another vaccine that should be given at birth would be Hepatitis B vaccine. The 2nd dose would be at the 3rd month and the 3rd dose would be around the 5th – 6th month. This vaccine, as its name suggests, prevents hepatitis B. Hepatitis B virus affects the liver and can cause both acute and chronic infections. The virus is transmitted by exposure to infectious blood or body fluids. Although this disease rarely results in death, this infection is preventable by vaccination. Unlike the BCG vaccine, babies with poor immune function such as HIV/AIDS and those born prematurely can also be given this vaccine.

DTaP

DTaP is a class of combination vaccines against infectious diseases in humans such as diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. Recommended course of intake of this vaccine would be at the 3rd, 4th and 5th month with a booster at the 18th month and another booster at the age of 10.

IPV

Inactivated Polio vaccine (IPV) produces antibodies in the blood to all three types of poliovirus. In the event of an infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis. Poliovirus is an infectious disease that may cause weakening of muscle and resulting in the inability to move and can occur over a few hours to a few days. Many but not all people fully recover. This virus is spread from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth. The first dose of IPV should be given at the 3rd month, and the other two at the 4th and 5th month. Booster must be given when the child is 18th months old.

Hib vaccine

Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine is a vaccine used to prevent Haemophilus influenza type b infection. This virus is an opportunistic pathogen, which means that they cause problems only when other factors (such as a viral infection) creates an opportunity. Hib was a leading cause of childhood meningitis, pneumonia and epiglottitis. Just like DTaP, the first dose can be given at the 3rd month, with the next two doses in the following two months. A booster must be given at the 18th month.

PVC

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PVC) is used to protect people of all ages against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as the pneumococcus). This helps with the prevention of pneumonia, which is an inflammatory condition of the lung. Two doses of PVC should be given at 3rd and 5th month, with a booster on the 12th month.

MMR

MMR vaccine is an immunization vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (known as German measles). This 3-in-1 vaccine is administered via injection. Measles, mumps and rubella are viral disease and are under control thanks to this vaccine. The first dose of MMR should be done only when your child is 12th months old and the next dose should take place at 15th month.

Varicella vaccine

Varicella, more famously known as chickenpox, is a highly contagious, airborne, disease that results in skin rash that forms small, itchy blister, which eventually scab over. Complication may result from this disease that includes pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, or bacterial infections of the skin. This vaccine helps prevent chickenpox and complications from the disease. Despite its higher cost, this vaccine is recommended for babies at 12-15 months.


The following table gives the recommended vaccination a child should have at different age.

For persons aged 0 to < 18 Years

   

Months

Years

Vaccination Against

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

12

15

18

10-11

Tuberculosis

BCG

                   

Hepatitis B

HepB (D1)

HepB (D2)

     

HepB

(D3)

       

Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus

   

DTaP

(D1)

DTaP

(D2)

DTaP

(D3)

       

DTaP

(B1)

TdaP

(B2)

Poliovirus

   

IPV

(D1)

IPV
(D2)

IPV

(D3)

       

IPV

(B1)

OPV

(B2)

Haemophilus influenza type b

   

Hib

(D1)

Hib

(D2)

Hib

(D3)

       

Hib

(B1)

 

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

             

MMR

(D1)

MMR

(D2)

 

Pneumococcal Disease

   

PCV

(D1)

 

PCV

(D2)

   

PCV

(B1)

     

Notes: D1/D2/D3: First dose, Second dose, Third dose

            B1/B2/B3: First booster, Second booster, Third booster

OPV: Oral Polio Vaccine


To sum up, having your child vaccinated will only do both you and your child good.

Do consult your doctor regarding the above vaccines and ask your doctor what are the expected side effects after taking these vaccines so that you will not get a panic attack.


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