Certain things cannot be skipped. As parents, you need to make sure that your child gets the most to survive in this competitive world. Before you decide on what foods, or clothes you need to buy for your newborn, you need to have an infant immunization schedule on the top of your list. Immunization schedules are important and they cannot be ignored – one cannot stress more on their importance. If you’re new to this area, continue reading the article on what to know about infant immunization schedules for some facts and insights on this topic.
What Is An Infant Immunization Schedule
Before getting into knowing the other technical aspects, let us understand what an immunization schedule is all about and why following one is necessary.
Vaccinations are important for disease control and prevention. And they’re extremely necessary especially for infants since their immune system is still developing to fight anything infectious. Let us look into the life-threatening disease of smallpox as an example. Due to efficient vaccination drives, the disease has been eradicated and the World Health Assembly has not reported naturally occurring cases of this deadly virus. Such is the power and importance of vaccines!
That’s why vaccinating your child is one of the best gifts you can give to your child’s future. It makes them immune to vaccine-preventable diseases, in turn giving them a happy and healthy life. What makes vaccinations work is that they contain antigens (weakened or inactivated bacteria). When introduced into the body, the immune system produces antibodies to fight the bacteria. So when the body is exposed to the same infection, the body is prepared to fight. This is how you achieve immunity.
And for thorough immunity to happen at the earliest, it’s better to get the necessary vaccinations while you’re young, and here is where the infant immunization schedule comes into the picture. It is nothing but a vaccination plan, recommending the necessary vaccines that every child needs from infancy to teenagehood. These recommendations cover all the potential infections a child can get during those years. You can also opt for additional ones but they’re available for an extra fee at private healthcare institutions.
The vaccines in these schedules are approved by the government of India and they’re completely safe.
Infant Immunization Schedules Available In India
Under India’s Universal Immunization Program (UIP), you have the National Immunization Schedule (NIS). This is a government of India initiative that recommends the necessary vaccinations free of cost for children. They are the bare minimum. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) oversees the quality of the vaccines and it’s then approved by the government. A lot of thought has been given to the making of these vaccines, so you can fully trust them without hesitation.
Also, the IAP (Indian Academy of Pediatrics) is another known infant immunization schedule that you need to know about. It’s mainly chalked by the Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Immunization Practices of the IAP and is reviewed closely by them. Think of this schedule as an extension. The IAP includes all the recommended vaccines by the NIS but also includes additional ones for thorough immunization.
There are a few differences between the two schedules, but they’re not very distant. The obvious one would be about the total number of vaccines. The NIS has a set of around 20 recommended vaccines, which are the bare minimum. On the other hand, the IAP has an approximate number of 35-40 total vaccinations, including the ones recommended by the NIS. The cost factor is another difference between the two schedules. The NIS is government initiated and there’s no charge per vaccine. The IAP has a fee on those additional vaccines, which are available through private healthcare hospitals.
Some Points To Remember
Now you know some of the available infant immunization schedules in India and their differences. But before you decide which one is best for your little one, there are a couple of things you need to know.
- Never delay your child’s vaccination appointments! They’re extremely crucial and missing one could have serious consequences on your child’s physical health. Be vigilant!
- You might hear various opinions about the credibility of vaccines such as they are harmful or cause autism. These are mere myths! Don’t fall for such baseless theories and inform others too about the importance of infant vaccinations.
- Vaccine administration usually happens via oral doses or intramuscular injections. It’s the latter that’ll need some amount of preparation, especially for newborns. Try holding your baby as close to you while the nurse is giving the shot. This will make the baby feel calm and protected.
- Also, it’s advisable to breastfeed the baby to relieve vaccination pain. Since babies are known to live in the moment, feeding will act as a form of distraction and their attention will be drawn towards food. Dipping the pacifier into a sugar solution equally works if breastfeeding is not a viable option.
One should follow an infant immunization schedule religiously: no doubt about that. But there is a chance of forgetting or keeping with the schedule since parenting is no easy task. There’s a slight possibility of the vaccination dates slipping through the tasks on your mind. To avoid that from happening, you can make use of some parenting apps. One such app is ImmunifyMe that will help you track vaccination dates and schedule appointments with your pediatrician. You can also track your child’s growth and store prescriptions digitally, eliminating the usage of more paper.
FAQs On What To Know About Infant Immunization Schedule
How Do I Remember My Child’s Immunization Schedule?
It does get tricky to remember your child’s immunization schedule since you have so many responsibilities to look over. Having a chart with all the immunizations is useful, but there’s a fair tendency of skipping some. To avoid all this hassle, you can make use of apps like ImmunifyMe. It’ll help you track your child’s immunization dates, and pop you with reminders so that you don’t miss out on any appointments.
What Is The Recommended Vaccine Schedule For Babies?
In India, you have the NIS and IAP infant immunization schedules. These are the only two systematic plans which are available. Choosing any of these two is purely subjective. The NIS is government-funded, free, and has the bare minimum that’s necessary for your child. The IAP includes all the necessary vaccines and adds a couple more that are available in the country. Do your research and find out which one suits you best.
What Is Full Immunization?
Full immunization of a child happens when they receive all the necessary doses as per the National Immunization Schedule within one year of age.