Vaccines work by preparing the child's body to fight illness. Each contains either a dead or a weakened germ (or parts of it) that cause a particular disease. The body practices fighting the disease by making antibodies that recognize specific parts of that germ.
Vaccines are very safe and effective. Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested across multiple phases of trials before it is approved for use, and regularly reassessed once it is on the market. Scientists are also constantly monitoring information from several sources for any sign that a vaccine may cause an adverse event. Most vaccine reactions are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. It is far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. For example, in the case of polio, the disease can cause paralysis, measles can cause encephalitis and blindness, and some vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death. Many more illnesses and deaths would occur without vaccines.
Vaccines, like any medication, may cause some side effects. Most of these side effects are very minor, like soreness where the shot was given, fussiness, or a low-grade fever. These side effects typically only last a couple of days and are treatable. For example, you can apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth on the sore area to ease discomfort.
The recommended schedule is designed to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life before they are exposed to life-threatening diseases. Children are immunized early because they are susceptible to diseases at a young age, and the consequences of these diseases can be very serious, and even life-threatening, for infants and young children.
Vaccines help protect infants, children, and teens from serious diseases. Getting childhood vaccines means your child can develop immunity (protection) against diseases before they come into contact with them.Children need immunizations (shots and drops) to protect them from 9 Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases. These diseases have serious complications and can even kill children.
- Tetanus (Lockjaw)
- Pertussis (Whooping cough)
- Hepatitis B
- Childhood TB
Get your child vaccinated 6 times against 12 diseases by the age of 15 months.
Immunizations are given at birth, and then at 2, 4, 6 and 12-18 months of age. Booster doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP), polio, and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are needed again between ages 4 and 6. The first measles vaccine must be given on or after the first birthday. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider.
Vaccines are as useful when combined with other vaccines as they are alone and carry no greater risk for harmful side effects. In addition to being safe, there are two reasons for giving children multiple vaccinations during the same visit. First, we want to immunize children early to protect them at a time when they are more likely to become sick. Second, giving several vaccinations at one time means fewer trips to your health care provider and may be less traumatic for your child.
Even if your child has a slight fever, cold or a runny nose, upset stomach, ear infection, or is taking antibiotics, he or she can still be immunized safely. There is no greater risk of harmful events when immunizations are given during a minor illness. However, if a fever or other symptoms suggest a moderate or serious illness, your child should not be vaccinated until the symptoms improve.
This is called the Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), if you think your child is experiencing a persistent or severe reaction, call your doctor or get the child to a doctor right away. Write down what happened and the date and time it happened. Ask your doctor, nurse or health department to file a “Vaccine Adverse Event Report”.
Immunizations need to begin at birth; most vaccinations are completed by age 2. By immunizing on time, you can protect your child from being infected and prevent the infection of others at school or at daycare centers. Children under 5 years of age are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection.
Q: What if my child didn’t get his or her shots when they were supposed to or they have gotten behind schedule?
Although it is important to immunize on time, it is never too late to start getting immunizations. If your child has had some of her shots and then gotten behind schedule, she doesn’t have to start over. The shots already given will count. Simply continue the schedule where your health care provider left off.
Maybe nothing, if your child is never exposed to a disease. But children are often exposed to diseases. All but one of these diseases (tetanus) are spread easily from person to person. If your child has not had his/her shots and he/she is around someone who has measles, whooping cough or one of the other childhood diseases, he/she will probably get sick, too.
An immunization record helps you and your healthcare provider keep your child on schedule by reminding you when his next immunizations are due. A record should be started when your child gets his first shot and updated each time he receives an immunization. This information will be helpful if you move or change health care providers and will be needed when your child starts daycare or school. Your child’s immunization record should be treated like a birth certificate or any other important paper, stored in a safe place where you can find it easily.
Pakistan procures vaccine with approximately cost of 6 billion PKR annually. The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Government of Pakistan, provides free vaccines to the children of Pakistan.
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