What You Need to Know About Your Baby’s First Vaccines

Vaccinations help prevent two to three million deaths each year, and a country’s immunization progress is often measured by the number of children receiving DTP doses, according to an article by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). So, an important part of your child’s care for the initial months and years includes vaccinations at the right time.

The first baby vaccine is usually administered within 12 hours of birth. However, it depends on the gestation period and existing medical conditions, such as low birth weight. You will observe that the number of vaccines is slightly more in the initial couple of years after your baby’s birth. You can keep track of the required vaccines with a baby vaccination chart, to ensure you do not miss any vaccines for your baby.

Often parents prefer the 6-in-1 vaccines for babies and children called Hexaxim, which is administered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of birth. It lessens the number of shots and side effects, if any. It also helps improve immunity and offers lasting protection against six different diseases. Here’s an easy-to-read immunization schedule for a better understanding.

At Birth

Hepatitis B is given after half a day of birth or before discharge from the hospital. It protects the child against liver diseases. The Hepatitis virus can infect others as well, since it is communicable. Hepatitis B immune globin (HBIG) is also given for an additional dose of protection. This is because 1 in 4 chronically affected babies might suffer from liver cancer. Read and know the vaccination chart for babies, since the second dose is usually given within the next 1-2 months.

At 2 Months

This is the time when the child is administered the rotavirus vaccine, which prevents diarrhea and dehydration. Hib is given to protect against meningitis, epiglottis and intellectual impairment. Next, the IPV shot is required to protect against polio. Lastly, the DTap vaccine is given to safeguard against tetanus, leading to broken bones or breathing difficulties.

At 6 Months

Don’t forget to refer to the baby vaccination chart, since there is a 4-month break between vaccines. The flu vaccine is recommended annually for babies above six months of age. It can either be given via injection or nasal spray, both of which are equally effective.

How to Soothe the Side Effects

A child who is moderately or severely ill on the day of the vaccination will not be administered the dose. If your baby does get vaccinated, tenderness, swelling and redness at the site are common. The child might also get irritated or develop a fever, which usually comes down within 2-3 days.

After each vaccination, let them suck on their pacifier, drink water or taste something sweet. These will reduce the pain and stop them from crying. Additionally, make sure you are calm, which will reduce anxiety in the child. Although rare, constant drowsiness, allergic reactions, breathing difficulty, or face swelling could occur and should be reported to the doctor immediately.

In 2019, almost 85% of the infants worldwide received doses of DTP3 to prevent fatal infectious diseases. In 2020 and beyond too, it is crucial for parents to stay up to date with the baby vaccination chart.

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