The immunisation programme starts at two months of age and continues well into the teenage years.
The reason so many of the diseases that children are immunised against are rare, or in some cases no longer occur like in the UK, is because of the success of the immunisation programme. In India, an immunisation schedule can be found on Indian Academy of Paediatrics.
It is important to keep immunising children to prevent the diseases from spreading again. By having your child immunised you are not only protecting his health but also the health of other children and adults.
A weakened and safe form of the disease is introduced into the body – usually through an injection, although the new flu vaccine for children is given by nasal spray – and the body then naturally produces antibodies against it.
Antibodies are proteins in the bloodstream that attack infecting germs. Once your child has been immunised the antibodies in his bloodstream are ready to attack these germs if they try to invade his body in the future.
There is no risk of your toddler catching the illness from the vaccine he is given or of his immune system becoming overloaded.
Here is a list of the diseases your child will be protected from through the immunisation programme.
|2 - 3 YEARS|
|Flu vaccine||(offered in the Winter) - nasal spray|
|3 - 5 YEARS|
|DTaP/IPV (polio)||(pre-school booster) - four- in-one injection|
|MMR (2nd dose)||separate injection|
|Tuberculosis||offered to babies and children who are at risk from TB|
|Hepatitis B||for those at risk from Hepatitis B|
|Flu||for any child with a long-term condition|
After immunisation, you may notice that the skin becomes red and there may be a small lump at the site of the injection.
Your child may develop a mild fever, but this doesn’t usually require any treatment. Sometimes, after the MMR, the fever and redness doesn’t occur until a few days later.
Usually any of these side effects disappear within a day or two, if, however, your child runs a high fever or has any other symptoms that are of concern you should talk to your doctor.
It takes a number of injections for your child to be fully protected, so it's important that you follow the immunisation timetable.
If you miss one, or for some reason the immunisation is delayed, you can usually catch up without having to start the course again. However, there are some exceptions to this:
Whooping cough- immunisation is not usually offered to children once they have reached the age of seven.
Meningitis C (MenC)- a toddler over one year, who hasn't received any previous dose of MenC, will only need one dose.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)- a child over 13 months but under four years, who has not previously been immunised, will only require one dose of the vaccine.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)- if your toddler is between one and two years of age and hasn't had any previous dose of PCV, or has only had one dose, then a single dose will be given. Children over two years of age, who have missed out on this, don't need to be immunised unless they are in an at risk group.
If you have any questions about immunisation or you need to find out about catching up on missed injections talk to your doctor or paediatrician.
You can also find out more by visiting Indian Academy of Paediatrics or asking your paediatrician.