Luckily we are not staying in the seventeenth century anymore and have access to vaccinations to protect our kids against various dangerous diseases. As a parent, it’s unbearable watching your kid fall sick and we feel the need to protect them from every sickness, even the sniffles.
The single discovery of Edward Jenner in 1796 triggered a world of research that has made it possible to develop vaccines for a wide variety of dangerous and sometimes lethal diseases. Majority of the vaccinations are against dangerous diseases of childhood that the child’s unexposed immune system isn’t able to overcome. Usually a lot of time, loss of health, suffering and medications are required for the child to get over the infection. Some of these illnesses include diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella and influenza (Hib). Various other viral infections against which vaccinations have been developed include pneumococcal and meningococcal disease vaccines, hepatitis A and B vaccines, rotavirus vaccines as well as human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.
Though various schools of thoughts exist as far as vaccination goes, with some religious sects being against vaccine administration, while others feel that the child’s innate immunity is being meddled with by administering vaccines, the fact remains that vaccinating your child is the best health security you owe your child. And it’s not just your child, but friends of your child and the neighborhood kids – who also stand the risk of contracting the disease from your child.
By administering vaccines on a global scale against crippling diseases like polio, the disease can actually be wiped off the face of the earth, just like smallpox was. This is another reason why it’s essential to administer all the prescribed vaccines to your child – to aid in global eradication of diseases.
During the first year of life, the child needs to be vaccinated against diseases like tuberculosis (BCG), polio, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), dpitheria, pertussis, tetanus (dTap) and influenza (Hib). Other important vaccinations include typhoid, rotavirus, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, chicken pox, etc. Do note that in different regions of the world, different diseases are predominant; hence some vaccines may be given preference over others. Also, most vaccines need booster doses with time, to keep the antibody levels at optimal levels. For girls after attaining puberty, additional vaccines for rubella and human papilloma virus (HPV) are also recommended. At the time of birth, the pediatrician will provide an immunization schedule which you need to follow diligently to do your bit towards protecting your child as well as preventing spread of diseases.
Aside from this, certain kids are more prone to certain infections, and need annual boosters for them; for example, kids with asthma are routinely given polyvalent influenza and pneumococcal vaccines every year to prevent exacerbations of asthmatic conditions as they are unable to cope up with frequent lung infections.
The disease-specific antibody producing memory cells that circulate around in your blood after immunization against a specific disease, get triggered when that specific germ is encountered and neutralize it before it multiplies, hence saving your kid a lot of distress. This makes vaccination an essential part of childhood.