It is expected that your baby should be vaccinated within the 1st year of their life. This has been the usual prescription by doctors to prevent them from acquiring diseases that may pose risk on your baby’s life, especially when there is an effective way of resisting these diseases. So, what are these vaccines? What are they for? Why do your babies need them and when should you return to your pediatrician?

Vaccines


So, what are vaccines? Who says that vaccines are “… a type of biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease.” They usually contain some kind of agent that’s that helps boost your baby’s immune system and protects them from the organisms that causes these diseases.

Vaccinations work as a primary prevention wherein it prevents the body from getting sick. Vaccinations have been effective for a long time now and have since continued to evolve in order to lessen diseases that can be otherwise prevented.

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Hep B or (Hepatitis B Vaccine)

Hepatitis B is a serious disease that damages the liver. It is caused by the virus itself and usually last from a few weeks to a lifelong, serious illness.

Babies are expected to be given this vaccine at:

1st dose: at birth
2nd dose: within the 1st two months
3rd dose: within 6 up to 15 months old

Those who are younger than 19 years old are expected to be vaccinated if they previously did not have any. It is also highly recommended
for adults as they are at a high risk of acquiring hepatitis B.

Rotavirus

Rotavirus is the most common cause of infant diarrhea. It can easily spread amongst the young,which leads to severe watery diarrhea associated with vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Some children have dehydration that requires them to be admitted to hospital to help them bring back the fluids that they lost.

Unlike any other virus, it cannot be easily prevented just by practicing good hygiene such as proper hand washing and cleaning. The most effective way is to get them vaccinated.

There are 2 types of rotavirus vaccine: RotaTeq and Rotarix

• RotaTeq is given at 3 doses, at ages 2, 4 and 6 months old.
• Rotarix is given in 2 doses, at age 2 and 4 months old.

These are oral vaccines wherein the nurse/doctor will put drops in your baby’s mouth. It is more effective when given before 15 weeks of age and should be given the vaccine before 8 months old.

DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine)

This vaccine is a compound one as it works for 3 diseases: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis. Diphtheria is not as rampant as it was before in the US, but it is still something to be scared of as it is often mistaken as sore throat,but may cause paralysis if not treated properly. It can easily be spread through sneezing or coughing.

Tetanus is often associated with “lockjaw” wherein there is painful tightening of the jaw muscles that makes it hard to open the mouth. It is acquired through broken skin that is exposed to dirt, dust or rust that has the bacteria.

Lastly, pertussis is popularly known as “whooping cough”. It is present for up to 10 weeks or more and associated with bluish discoloration because of a lack of oxygen. It can also spread through sneezing or coughing like diphtheria.

Babies and children less than 7 years of age should receive DTaP while those who are above the age of 7 should receive the Tdap. It is given when your baby is 2,4,6, and 15-18 months and 4-6 years.

Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib Vaccine)

There are different strains of flu and so the quality of the vaccine differs every year, as it adds more types of strains that the vaccine can help prevent. Influenza has a potential to become a serious disease hence, it is advised for infants to have a vaccination dose of 4 : at 2 months old, at 4 months old, at 6 months old and within the 12th or 15th months of age.

Pneumococcal disease (Pneumococcal Vaccine)

It is caused by a type of bacteria that leads to severe infections like pneumonia, meningitis and bacteremia if not treated properly. It often starts as pneumonia with the triad present, fever, coughing and chest pain. It is routinely given on a 4-dose scheme: during your baby’s 2nd, 4th, 6th and between 12th-15th months.

Poliomyelitis (Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine)

Poliomyelitis is a disease that targets the body’s brain and spinal cord. It is well-known for being the cause of crippling some people, while some are unfortunate enough to become paralyzed. It is recommended to be given on 4 doses:

1st dose: 2 months old
2nd dose: 4 months old
3rd dose: between 6 through 18 months
4th dose: at 4 to 6 years old

Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR Vaccine)

Mumps is a viral disease that causes puffy cheeks, a swollen jaw, muscle aches, loss of appetite and fatigue. It passes within a week or two, but serious problems are associated with it, such as hearing loss. Measles is the one disease that causes outbreaks in the US. It manifests as rashes accompanied by fevers, coughing and a runny nose. This can also be easily spread through coughing or sneezing. Lastly, Rubella or German Measles almost have the same symptoms as that of measles but have serious complications like joint pain and swelling or even bone infections and bleeding problems. It is given on a 2-dose series: within 12-15 months and 4-6 years old.

Immunization guide

Below is a copy of the CDC recommended vaccine from birth up until 4-6 years old. This can serve as your guide on when you should return to the doctor for your baby’s immunization:

Note: Those with bullets before the vaccine name indicates that the vaccine can be given within the shown age range.

Importance of vaccination schedule

Following the vaccination schedule helps maximize the effectiveness of the vaccines to offer the best possible protection it can give to your baby’s body. Immunity to these diseases might not be fully achieved if a dose is missed. Sticking to your vaccination schedule minimizes side effects and prepares them for the bigger world that is filled with various diseases.

When not to get tour baby immunized

There are instances that your baby might need to defer their scheduled vaccination when they have the following situation:

• Severe reaction to a prior vaccine. Some vaccines may have an effect on your child, but it is not common. If your baby experiences an allergic reaction like hives, difficulty breathing or a sudden drop in blood pressure, you might need to consider skipping this session.
• Chicken Egg Allergy. Vaccines such as those for measles and the flu are made from chicken eggs and might cause reaction if your baby is allergic to them.
• High fever. Talk to your doctor whether or not to delay the vaccine as a shot won’t hurt your child.
• High dose steroids. If your baby is under any high dose steroids, you need to stay away from live-vaccines such as MMR, varicella and shingles as these live-vaccines might do more harm than good. When a person is under steroids, their immune system is suppressed and vulnerable, hence live-vaccines are not recommended.