In order to ensure a healthy life for your baby, it is important to build up his basic immunity. The process of immunization starts from birth and continues till the time the child is five years of age.

Though the wonderful mechanism of the human body automatically develops the immunity to certain viral and bacterial infections by mere exposure to them, vaccination is required for certain other diseases that may be fatal or terribly debilitating.

How do vaccinations work?

When the child receives a vaccine, it helps his body create antibodies. Antibodies are defensive cells that fight off any foreign substance.

Most immunizations are administered through injections, which may hurt the baby a little. Some immunizations may even cause a temporary swelling or redness around the area of injection. Severe after-effects may require pediatric care.

Vaccines used for routine childhood immunization can be safely given together. If the child is down with a mild illness or a running nose, he can be safely immunized. But if he has an acute onset of disease, then it’s advisable to defer vaccination for some time.

Vaccines during the first year

The Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following vaccines in the first year of baby’s life.

BCG Vaccine: It protects against two deadly complications of tuberculosis namely, TB Meningitis and Miliary TB. Though, it does not give adequate protection against tuberculosis in general.

It is given in the neonatal period as one dose only.

In rare cases, the complications involved are swelling of the armpit due to lymph node enlargement.

Oral Polio Vaccine: It protects against Polio infection and is given in three to five doses in the first year of life, starting from birth, at monthly intervals.

It is followed by two booster doses at the age of one-and-a-half and five years.

DPT Vaccine: It provides protection against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping cough.

It is given in three doses in the first year at monthly intervals, followed by booster doses at one-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years of age.

It can produce fever, pain and swelling and rarely, severe crying and neurological disease.

Hepatitis B Vaccine: Prevention is the only way to control Hepatitis B infection. If the mother is suffering from Hepatitis B infection, the baby has to be immunized with the first dose of vaccine at birth, followed by the second dose after one month and third after three month.

However, if the mother is not suffering from Hepatitis B infection, the baby can be immunized with the first dose at birth or six weeks, second dose one month from the last dose and the third dose at six months from the first date.

Measles Vaccine: It prevents measles infection. One dose is administered at nine months of age, followed by a booster dose at fifteen months.

Hepatitis A Vaccine: Also, one of the latest vaccine vaccines, it is administered in two doses at six months interval, from the time the baby is two years old followed by no booster dose.

Chickenpox Vaccine: It is one of the latest and expensive vaccines in the market and is very effective against chicken pox.

The dosage required one dose after one year of age with no booster dose.

HIB Vaccine: It prevents infections by dangerous bacteria called Haemophilous Influenza Type B, which causes some serious infections like Meningitis, severe throat and ear infection, pneumonia, etc.

Three doses at two months interval, starting from two months of age and followed by a booster dose at one-and-a-half years helps fight against the infection.

MMR Vaccine: It is a combination of Measles vaccine along with Mumps and Rubella vaccine.

It is given at 15 months of age as one dose only and does not require a booster dose.