World Immunization Week: 11 common questions about childhood vaccination

Vaccines are an essential tool that helps protect children against serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases. Childhood vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and are a vital part of maintaining public health. Despite this, there are many misconceptions about vaccines that can lead parents to have questions and concerns.

Common Vaccination Question for Children

Here are some of the most common questions parents have about vaccinating their children:

1. What are vaccines?

Vaccines are a type of medicine that help the body fight infectious diseases. They work by introducing a small amount of weakened or dead bacteria or virus into the body, which triggers the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the disease. This means that if the person is exposed to the disease in the future, their body will already have the tools it needs to fight it.

Also read: New moms! Memorize this vaccination list for the best health of your child

Role of vaccination for children. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

2. Why are immunizations important for children?

Vaccines are important for children because they help protect them from serious diseases that can cause lasting damage or even death. Many of the diseases that vaccines protect against are highly contagious and can spread rapidly, leading to outbreaks and epidemics. Vaccines not only protect the person who receives them, but also protect the community by reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

3. What are the different vaccination schedules followed in our country?

We have two vaccination schedules. One is the National Immunization Schedule in which vaccinations are decided by NITAG (National Immunization Expert Technical Advisory Group) and are given to all children free of charge. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends the latter, which includes additional vaccinations that are needed and available in the country.

4. If parents miss a scheduled vaccine dose, what should they do?

Always try to receive the vaccines on schedule as prescribed by your doctor. However, if you miss the date, your child should be vaccinated as soon as possible. No need to restart the whole program again.

5. If a child has had a vaccine-preventable disease, should the child be vaccinated against that disease?

Yes. Most vaccine-preventable diseases do not confer long-term immunity after an episode of full infection.

6. Why do children receive multiple doses of a similar vaccine?

Live vaccines in which the weakened organism is injected produce a strong immune response with one dose, but with some of these vaccines a second dose is required, as many children may miss the first dose (malabsorption). Killed vaccines build immunity in phases and each subsequent dose provides a more robust immune response compared to the previous dose, thus multiple doses are required.

7. What are the side effects of the vaccination?

All vaccines induce immunity by causing the recipient’s immune system to react to the vaccine. Therefore, local reactions, fever and systemic symptoms may occur after vaccination. Serious side effects are rare, but they can happen. However, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of side effects.

8. Do vaccines cause autism?

No, vaccines do not cause autism. This idea originated from a now-discredited study that was published in 1998. Since then, there have been multiple studies that have found no link between vaccines and autism. The CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and many other reputable organizations have stated that there is no evidence to support a link between vaccines and autism.

complications of childhood vaccination
Find out if vaccinating your child leads to autism or not. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

9. Can a sick child be vaccinated?

A sick child suffering from a mild illness can be safely vaccinated. Symptoms of a mild illness (such as cough, cold, mild fever, or mild diarrhea) are not contraindications. However, a child with a high fever and severe diarrhea should not be vaccinated during the acute phase.

10. Can vaccines overload a child’s immune system?

No, vaccines do not overload a child’s immune system. The immune system is capable of responding to thousands of antigens at once. Vaccines contain a very small amount of antigens compared to what children are exposed to on a daily basis. In fact, a child is exposed to more antigens in a day of normal activity than by all the vaccines he receives in his first two years of life.

11. Why do some people choose not to vaccinate their children?

There are many reasons why some people choose not to vaccinate their children. These may include concerns about the safety of vaccines, religious or philosophical beliefs, or a lack of trust in the medical establishment. However, choosing not to vaccinate can have serious consequences, not just for the unvaccinated child but for the community as a whole. When fewer people are vaccinated, outbreaks of diseases such as measles and whooping cough (whooping cough) can occur, which can lead to serious illness and even death.

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