Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting babies and children against diseases. The risks from having these diseases are far greater than the risk of any minor side effects from vaccination. When your child is given a vaccine, their body responds by making antibodies, the same as if they had caught the disease but without getting sick. Post the vaccine shot their body produces antibodies to destroy the vaccine and these stay in your child’s body and protect them against the actual disease. It takes few weeks for vaccines to work, so immediately your child will not be protected. Also, most vaccines need to be given several times to build up long-lasting protection. For example, a child who gets only one or two doses of the whooping cough vaccine is only partly protected against that disease and may still catch whooping cough. More than one dose of the same vaccine is given in the first few years of a child’s life. The extra doses improve the antibody response and give better long term protection.
Vaccines recommended immediately after birth:
Following are the first few vaccines given within 12 hours to 2 weeks of the birth of the baby.
Oral Polio Vaccines – OPV:
Polio vaccines are vaccines used to prevent poliomyelitis (polio). There are two types: one that uses inactivated poliovirus and is given by injection (IPV) and other that uses weakened poliovirus and is given by mouth (OPV). The WHO recommends all children be vaccinated against polio. The two vaccines have eliminated polio from most of the world. If we talk about the routine vaccination then, birth dose of OPV usually does not lead to VAPP (vaccine associated paralytic polio).if IPV is unfeasible then 3 doses minimum must be given. But for IPV minimum age is 6 weeks. For IPV 2 doses instead of 3 doses can also be used if primary series started at the 8 weeks and the interval between the doses is kept 8 weeks. No child should leave your facility without immunization, if indicated by the schedule. IPV catch up vaccination schedule is 2 doses at 2 months apart followed by a booster after 6 months of previous date.
Bacillus Calmette–Guérin – BCG:
Bacillus Calmette – Guérin (BCG) vaccine is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis. Places where tuberculosis is common, one dose is recommended in healthy babies as close to the time of birth as possible. Babies with HIV/AIDS should not be vaccinated. In areas where tuberculosis is not common, only babies at high risk are immunized, while suspected cases of tuberculosis are individually tested and treated. BCG vaccine must be given at birth or at first contact. Catch up dose may be given up to 5 years.
Hepatitis B (HepB) Vaccine:
Hepatitis B vaccine is a vaccine that prevents hepatitis B. The first dose is recommended within 24 hours of birth with either two or three more doses given after that. This includes those with poor immune function such as from HIV/AIDS and those born premature.The vaccine is given by injection into a muscle. Monovalent hepB vaccines should be used for doses administered before age 6 of 6 weeks. Administration of a total of 4 doses of HepB Vaccine is permissible when a combination vaccine containing HepB is administered after the birth dose. Infants who did not receive a birth dose should receive 3 doses of HepB containing vaccine starting as soon as feasible. The ideal minimum interval between dose 1 and dose 2 is 4 weeks, and between dose 3 and 4 is 8 weeks. Ideally (3rd or 4th ) dose in the HepB vaccine series should be administered no earlier than age 24 weeks and at least 16 weeks after the first dose, whichever is later. For catch-up vaccination, administer the 3 dose series to those not previously vaccinated.