When your baby is about three months old, you should start the immunization programme which will protect them against most severe infectious diseases. When your baby is immunized, he is given a vaccine which contains harmless versions of the germ that causes the disease.
The vaccine is too weak to cause the disease, but it makes the body produce special cells which will protect your child from that disease in the future. You must continue with the immunization programme even if your child catches the disease.
Why the baby should be immunized
Some parents decide against immunization because they are worried about possible risks or because they think that a disease is so rare that it is unnecessary. However, if fewer children are immunized, diseases can spread more quickly, leading to epidemics. Immunization will protect your baby and help to eradicate the disease altogether.
What are the risks of being immunized
Immunization is safe, although it may make your baby mildly un-well for a short time. However, if your baby had a convulsion, or has a close relative with epilepsy, he has an increased risk of serious reaction to the whooping cough vaccine, so discuss this with your doctor. Do not take them to be immunized, if they have a cold or is at all unwell, or has been taking antibiotics in the week before he is due for immunization.
What are the after-effects
Immunization may give your baby a slight fever, so keep a check on their temperature for 24 hours and, if it raises give him the recommended dose of paracetamol elixir. Your baby may develop a small, hard lump at the injection site. This will go in a few weeks, and is nothing to worry about. The measles vaccine may give him a rash and make his face swell slightly three weeks later. If he develops any other symptoms, or if his crying sounds unusual or his temperature rises above 100.4 degrees, call your doctor immediately.
Having an Injection
Hold your baby firmly while he is given the injection, to comfort him and keep him still. The doctor may inject him in the top of his arm or in his bottom or thigh.
At the age of 2 and 3 months; Diphtheria, Meningitis (Hib), Tetanus, Whooping cough (pertussis) and Polio are given. At 12-15 months of age vaccines of Measles, mumps and German measles (rubella) are given. When the child is of # and half -5 years (Pre-school booster) again a dose of Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio is given. By the age of 11 years a vaccine of BCG (Tuberculosis) is given. At 16vyears a dose of Booster tetanus and Booster polio is given.