Being a new parent can be one of the most challenging as well as wonderful times of our lives. It comes with a list of responsibilities and a host of do’s and don’ts which along with sleep deprivation and constant worrying about your baby’s needs can add to the craziness. But the most important thing to ensure is that your baby is healthy and safe from diseases as new-borns have a weak immunity system and are highly susceptible to viruses and infections. Therefore be sure to take your baby for regular immunization sessions and administer the necessary vaccines and boosters. Here is a list of 10 vaccines that should be given after a baby is born. However please do make sure that you consult your doctor for the specific details, timings, dose, side effects and precautions before making a decision. Doctor’s opinion is always the best as they know more about medical innovations that occur every day. Avoid taking a risk with your child’s health and immunize him/her in the best way possible.
10. Hepatitis A(HepA)
Hepatitis A is a vaccine that protects your child from a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is contagious and can spread through having close contact with infected persons or having HAV contaminated food and water. Hepatitis A can cause a flu-like illness, severe stomach pains, jaundice and even diarrhoea. Hepatitis A vaccine can contain either an inactivated HAV or a live but attenuated HAV. Both stimulate active immunity against future infections. The first dose is usually given to a baby after twelve months and subsequent doses are administered at a gap of six to eighteen months. Since Hepatitis-A is the most common vaccine preventable virus acquired through travel and is common in places like the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Central America, South America, Eastern Europe and the far East, make sure that you are updated on your baby’s immunization routine before booking tickets for a vacation.
9. Varicella (VAR)
Varicella vaccine is used to stimulate immunity in the human body against the varicella zoster virus (VZV) that causes a deadly viral disease commonly known as chicken pox. Chicken pox usually affects children and has claimed more than 100-150 victims per year before the vaccine was introduced. The first dose of Varicella vaccine, which contains a live attenuated virus, is usually administered to babies an year after birth.
8. Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
The MMR vaccine is a combination of live attenuated viruses that develop antibodies in our system against the three diseases- measles, mumps and rubella( German measles). It was developed in 1971 by Maurice Hilleman at Merck to build up immunity in children against the three diseases that commonly affect kids. Babies should usually receive the first dose about a year after birth. MMR was later combined with the varicella vaccine to develop the MMRV which provides immunity against chicken pox along with the three other diseases of measles, mumps and rubella. MMRV has been proposed as an alternative of the MMR to simplify the administration process of the two vaccines.
7. Influenza vaccine
The influenza vaccine administers antigens of the influenza virus strains in the human body. It is a seasonal immunization technique usually injected as a flu shot or applied as a nasal spray. The first dose containing an inactivated virus is given to babies six months after birth. Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) should only be administered to babies of age two years and above. The influenza vaccine only takes two weeks to build up enough antibodies in our system to protect us against the flu. It has been observed that the influenza vaccine is a cost effective method of minimising the risk and effects of seasonal outbreaks of influenza.
6. Inactivated poliovirus (IPV)
Developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh, the inactivated polio vaccine also known as the IPV or the Salk vaccine has been a gift to mankind as it has helped in the global eradication of the poliovirus. Poliovirus is the causative agent of poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis-one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. IPV is based on three wild, virulent strains of the poliovirus which develop immunity against polio infection. The first dose of IPV is given to babies two or three months after birth and a second dose is administered at four months of age. A total of four doses are recommended for children before they start school.
5. Pneumococcal conjugate
PCV or the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine builds immunity in infants and small children against the disease pneumonia caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). In the U.S four doses are recommended to be administered at two, four, six months after birth and again between one year to 15 months of age. Presently there are three PCV vaccines available in the global market-Prevnar, Synflorix and Prevnar 13.
4. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)vaccine is a conjugate vaccine which develops immunity against the invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. Currently there are three types of conjugate vaccine, all of which are highly effective and safe for human use. The first dose is usually administered to babies 6 weeks after birth. It has been observed that Hib conjugate vaccination has reduced early childhood meningitis in developed as well as developing contries.
3. Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP)
DTaP (Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis) vaccine is a combination of vaccines that help build antibodies against the three deadly, infectious diseases that affect humans- diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. It consists of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and whole dead cells of organisms that cause whooping cough. It is usually administered to babies in a course of five doses between the age of two months to fifteen years, the minimum age of administration being six weeks after birth.
Rotavirus of RV vaccines protects infants and children from diseases caused by rotaviruses. Rotavirus is highly resistant and contagious and spreads through unhealthy sanitation and unclean waters. Rotavirus is one of the leading causative agents of severe diarrhoea that affect infants and children. Every year nearly 453,000 children fall prey to diarrhoeal diseases caused by the rotavirus. The victims are mostly from developing countries where water quality and sanitation is not up to normal health standards. Presently there are two effective Rotavirus vaccines- Rotarix and RotaTeq. Recently another Rotavirus vaccine has been developed in India, which if legally approved will be a much more cost effective solution in developing countries compared to the other two vaccines. The first dose of the Rotavirus vaccine can be administered to babies after six weeks of birth and subsequent doses follow at a gap of two months.
1. Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B vaccine helps in preventing diseases resulting from infection by Hepatitis B virus. Various types of Hepatitis B vaccines are available in the market. Immunization course involves two to three doses of vaccines which are given intra-muscularly. The first dose is administered to newborns before discharging them from hospital and subsequent doses are given one or two months after birth. Besides reducing risk of infection, Hepatitis B vaccination has also significantly reduced liver cancer in some nations.