Babies bring a lot with them when they finally enter this world. Excitement, nervousness, and routines that are all over the place are just a few snippets experienced by all parents. What these little ones also bring with them is an added sense of responsibility for the parents; the responsibility to take care of their child and to protect them inside out. And what helps parents the most in this journey is immunization.

Getting your child vaccinated or immunized is extremely important to protect them from an array of diseases out there in the world. Even before the birth of your child, your doctor might introduce you to your child’s immunization schedule. In India, there are two main schedules that you can choose from for your child. For you to make an informed choice, it’s important to learn the differences between NIS and IAP immunization schedules. Keep reading further and you’ll know what these terms encompass.

Understanding The Terms: NIS & IAP

In simple terms, an immunization schedule tells you age-wise, which vaccines your child needs to be given. Before we get to the differences between the two immunization schedules, let us first understand what are the NIS and IAP immunization schedules.


National Immunization Schedule or NIS is recommended by the Indian Government and is given free of cost, all over the country. The National Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (NITAG) is the one that advises the government about the use of available vaccines in the NIS. A number of factors such as delivery chain feasibility, cost involved, and availability of vaccines are taken into consideration while preparing an immunization schedule for such a large country.

Keeping public health in focus, NIS includes the bare minimum vaccines which every child in India must receive. The schedule lists down all the necessary vaccines that children should receive right from the time of birth to around 10-15 years of age.

NIS schedule, differences between NIS and IAP

By giving basic vaccinations free of cost, the NIS ensures all children get immunity from deadly diseases.


The other type of immunization schedule available in India is IAP or the Indian Academy of Paediatrics’ Immunization Schedule. The Advisory Committee of Experts on Vaccines and Immunization Practices (ACVIP) is the highest body of IAP that is responsible for preparing and regularly updating this schedule.

The IAP immunization schedule has all the vaccines recommended by the NIS. Plus, it also includes a few additional ones that are available in the country.

Differences Between NIS & IAP Immunization Schedules

Now that you’ve got some idea about the two schedules, let us have a look at a few differences between them.

Number Of Vaccines

As we mentioned before, the National Immunization Schedule (NIS) has the bare minimum vaccines that every child in the country needs. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) immunization schedule has additional vaccines apart from the ones recommended by the NIS.

There are around 15-20 different vaccines recommended in the NIS that need to be given to children over a period of time, while in the IAP immunization schedule, there are around 20 additional vaccines. This takes the total number of vaccines in the IAP immunization schedule to be around 35-40. The additional vaccines in the IAP immunization schedule are available in the country but are not yet essential to be part of the NIS.

Type Of Vaccines

This is the list of vaccines in the NIS:

  • BCG
  • Hepatitis B
  • Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV 0,1,2,3)
  • Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV 1,2)
  • Pentavalent Vaccine 1, 2, 3 (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Hib)
  • Rotavirus Vaccine (RVV 1,2,3)
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 1,2 & booster)
  • Measles-Rubella (MR 1,2)
  • Vitamin A

Recommended in the NIS, the dosage of these vaccines is spread across from birth till early childhood and adolescence. The NIS could also vary from state to state as the government rolls out some vaccines in a phased manner.

The IAP immunization schedule also includes all of these vaccines, as well as a few additional ones. It also has an additional number of doses for certain vaccines. These are:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, whole-cell Pertussis (DTwP 1,2,3, booster 1 and 2)
  • Influenza (IIV 1,2)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR 1,2,3)
  • Varicella (1,2)
  • Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (TdaP)

Cost Of Vaccines Included In The Schedules

All vaccines included in the NIS are offered by the government free of cost. You can get your child vaccinated with all of the vaccines in the NIS from any government hospital. However, the vaccines included in the IAP immunization schedule are offered by a number of private hospitals that charge for every vaccine administered to your child.

child immunization record, immunization schedule

Keeping track of your baby’s schedule, whether NIS or IAP, is essential.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Timely vaccination is extremely important and it goes a long way in protecting your child from deadly diseases existing in the community. Government medical professionals administer vaccines recommended in the NIS free of cost across the country. Ideally, under no circumstances should you miss any of the doses. These are the bare minimum that is essential for every child in the country.
  • Missing a vaccine appointment isn’t ideal but there could be times when you’re juggling so many parent responsibilities together and the date just slips out of your mind. Make full use of technology to avoid this situation. Check out the ImmunifyMe app that maintains all the digitized vaccination records of your child and sends you timely reminders for all the upcoming vaccinations, so there’s no chance of you forgetting an appointment.
  • Both the NIS and IAP immunization schedules are regularly updated from time to time. Make sure to keep yourself informed about these updates from the official websites or after consulting your doctor. As a parent, you need to know about these schedules to make the best decision about your child’s health and immunization.


Knowing the differences between NIS and IAP immunization schedules is certainly important. But, remember that both keep the well-being of every child in mind. There could be further additions of vaccines in both these schedules, backed by research and dependant on the need of the hour.

No matter the immunization schedule you choose to follow, what’s most important is that you follow it diligently and get your child vaccinated from time to time. Do make sure to consult with your doctor if you anticipate any changes in your child’s immunization schedule.

FAQs On The Differences Between NIS & IAP Immunization Schedules

What Is The Meaning Of A Fully Immunized Child?

A child who has received all vaccines on the National Immunization Schedule (NIS) in required doses before reaching 1 year of age is a fully immunized child. However, your child still needs to take other recommended vaccines at least till they turn 10.

What Is National Immunization Day?

India celebrates National Immunization Day, also known as National Vaccination Day, every year on March 16. It was on this day (March 16) in 1995 that India gave the first dose of oral polio vaccine. From then on, we observe this day every year to convey the importance of vaccinations.

What Is The First Vaccine That A Baby Gets?

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV 0), and Hepatitis B (HB 1) are the first vaccines that children receive at birth. Make sure you consult your doctor for other vaccines your child may require apart from the ones we’ve mentioned.

What Is The Importance Of Immunization Schedule?

Immunizations or vaccinations are one of the most effective ways of preventing a number of diseases. Scientific research backs immunization schedules, set in a way to work in accordance with a child’s immune system. Following the immunization schedule for vaccinations will not only develop your immune system but also help protect others as well.