Immunisation | Emma's Diary India

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Immunisations (2-5 years)

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Immunisations that will give protection against many potentially serious diseases

The immunisation programme starts at two months of age and continues well into the teenage years.

Why immunisation works

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.

How it works

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.

The diseases

Here is a list of the diseases your child will be protected from through the immunisation programme.

  • Diphtheria: A rare, but potentially fatal disease that causes a serious throat and chest infection that can lead to severe breathing difficulties.
  • Tetanus: This affects the nervous system causing painful muscle spasms and breathing difficulties.
  • Whooping cough: A highly infectious disease causing long bouts of coughing and choking. It can lead to convulsions, ear infections, pneumonia and even brain damage.
  • Polio: The polio virus can cause a meningitis-like illness and may damage the nerves and can lead to muscular paralysis and can sometimes be fatal.
  • Measles: This is a serious illness which can cause inflammation of the brain, convulsions, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia.
  • Mumps Although this is usually a mild illness, it can cause serious complications in both boys and girls and can lead to deafness. Complications include pancreatitis, inflammation of the testicles, meningitis and inflammation of the brain.
  • Rubella (German measles): A mild disease, but one that can seriously harm an unborn baby if caught during pregnancy.
  • Flu: Children with flu can develop a very high fever and complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infection which may require hospital treatment.
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
NON-ROUTINE INJECTIONS
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

Are there any side effects?

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.

What happens if you miss an injection?

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.

More information

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.

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