Safe Vaccination 

The vaccination program world over has protected over millions of children from the scourge of debilitating and fatal diseases such as smallpox, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria and others. Smallpox has been completely wiped out because of the vaccination program. Not only vaccination protects the children but it also helps to create a safe environment for physically weak and vulnerable who cannot be vaccinated. When a critical mass of the population has been vaccinated it creates a condition for community immunity where even the non-vaccinated are protected because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. While vaccination has proven its efficacy in managing public health issues, it is the issues at the individual level that need attention. There are certain do’s and dont’s that need to be followed while vaccinating your child.

Understand the full vaccination schedule of your child

It is imperative to have full information on the vaccination schedule of your child. Apart from the mandatory vaccinations, there are certain optional ones, parents need to make an informed decision while going for optional vaccination. Kindly study the risk-benefit of optional vaccination before going for them. It is not wise to leave the decision on the pediatrician alone.

Administer vaccinations only to a healthy child

Vaccination should be administered only when the child is perfectly healthy. The vaccination program needs to be postponed in case the child is ill or possibly falling ill. If the child’s immunity is compromised the possibility of adverse reactions increases. It is important to have a child at her best immunity during vaccination.

Take details of the vaccines administered

You must have the details of the vaccines administered to your child. The details such as the name of the vaccine, manufacturing company, date of manufacturing and expiry of vaccines need to be maintained by you. Make sure that the child is administered vaccines that are manufactured by the reputed companies and are well within the expiry date. Track the vaccination of your child in a properly maintained vaccination file.

Try and avoid multiple vaccinations on a single day

Try to have vaccinations administered one at a time, in single-dose vials. This will reduce the risk of overwhelming the immune system of the child. A newborn’s immune system takes time to mature and depends on various factors such as mother’s health and whether she is breastfed or not. A breastfed child has better immunity because she takes advantage of the antibodies of her mother.

Use nutrition to build immunity before vaccination

For older children, concentrate on building child’s immunity by providing her with all the essential nutrients such as vitamin A, C & E, and Zinc. Ensure that the baby’s diet has all these essential nutrients. Look for supplements in case of deficiency. Cod liver oil is also helpful.

Monitor Your Child after Vaccination

After immunization, closely monitor your child for any adverse reaction. It is common for a baby to experience a minor reaction such as redness at the injection site, mild fever, fussiness, or a slight loss of appetite. But if the child is crying inconsolably for more than three hours or develops a high fever, seizures, swelling of the face, or limpness, get immediate medical help. Good rest, extra fluids and a healthy diet would help to minimize any reactions to the vaccination. In case the child reacts adversely to vaccination, postpone future vaccination for a later time when the immunity is fully developed.

Vaccinating the premature babies

In case of pre-term babies be extra cautious and ensure that day one vaccination is postponed for a later time. Generally, hepatitis B vaccination is administered on the day of birth. It is essential for day one vaccination only if the mother is hepatitis B positive. Other vaccination also needs to be administered only when the child has gained strength and immunity.

Hold your child in your lap while vaccinating

It is better to hold the child in the lap during vaccination that would help to keep the child calmer. Nurse the child or let her play with her favorite toy. A warm bath after vaccination can help ease soreness of vaccination.

Understanding issues related to Mercury in Vaccination

Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative is used to prevent bacterial contamination in multi-dose vials. Preservatives are not required for single-usage vials. The autism epidemic in the United States and the suspected link between autism and mercury in vaccines led to the removal of most mercury-containing vaccines in the west. Though research has found no link between mercury and occurrence of autism, it is better to discontinue the use of mercury in vaccines as other countries have done. Besides, multi-dosage vials are not cost-saving proposition as they were made out to be. A UNICEF study reported vaccine wastage of up to 60 percent with the multi-dose vials. Leading doctors in Indian Journal of Medical Ethics has also appealed for discontinuation of such multi-dose vials. If as a parent you are concerned about the multi-dose vials, kindly ask the doctor for single-dose vial for vaccination.

Take  family history into account before going for vaccination

If the elder sibling is suffering from any developmental delay issues like severe allergies, asthma, ADHD and Autism, kindly consult the doctor before going for vaccination. Vaccination is mostly safe but can show adverse reactions in genetically susceptible children. These are the cases of compromised individual immunity that requires extra precaution. You can increase the safety of vaccination program by administering the vaccines on a somewhat slower schedule than the standard schedule.

Safe vaccination is key to the future of your child. In future, genome testing can further help to ensure that those children who are genetically susceptible are identified and vaccinated on a slower schedule to ensure that their system is able to withstand even the slightest risk that vaccination may pose.