Vaccination in Children

Vaccines are one of the best investments we can make to give every child a healthy start

One of the most effective interventions which has reduced death and suffering in children over the past few decades is the development of new vaccines for various common and rare diseases affecting children. Government of India aims to vaccinate all children under the National immunization schedule for the common childhood diseases. Indian Academy of Paediatrics(IAP) publishes regular guidelines on new Vaccines and their schedule to be followed in India. Some of the newer and expensive Vaccines are provided at private hospitals under the guidelines of IAP.

What are the different types of vaccines available

Vaccines can be divided into two broad categories- Live and Killed.

  • Live Vaccines contains Live but weakened form of the Virus/Bacteria Causing the disease in a person. In general live vaccines cannot be given to a person in whom the immune system is weak or suppressed by medications.
  • Killed Vaccines don’t have any live organisms but they contain the protein part of the organism called antigens which when given stimulates the body to produce antibodies.
  • Toxoid:These vaccines are made from extracting certain inactivated toxic component of the micro-organism example Tetanus and diphtheria vaccines
  • Subunit: These vaccines are made by using a fragment of the micro-organism (Like a protein subunit). Example: Hepatitis B vaccine.

Conjugate:These are made using some complex sugars (Found on the outer coats of the bacteria) and binding them with proteins like toxins. Example: HIB vaccine, Typhoid TCV Vaccine.

How do Vaccines work

Vaccine(Live or Killed) when given to the body the antigens in them stimulates the body to produce antibodies against the particular bacteria/virus. These antibodies stay in the body and when your body is exposed to the organism causing the disease these antibodies fight with them and helps in destroying them without causing the disease. Some of the vaccines may need multiple doses(eg., DPT) or may need a booster dose to maintain adequate protection

What is cold chain

These vaccines must be maintained at a particular protection from the site of production till it is administered to the patient.


Routine vaccines: The following are the routine vaccines that are recommended for children between birth and 6 months of age.

  1. BCG
  2. POLIO
  3. DTaP/DTwP
  4. MMR
  5. Hepatitis B
  6. Hib
  7. Pneumoccoccal
  8. Rotavirus
  9. Typhoid

What are the side effects from vaccines:

Vaccines can cause side effects but these are mostly mild and are usually tenderness, redness or swelling at the site of injection and some times the child may have mild fever. They usually appear soon after the injection and will go away within a day or two.

Very rarely (less than one in 10 lakh) severe reactions can occur like severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. Doctor’s are trained to handle these if it happens.

What are the precautions that need to be followed?

If the child is sick on the date of vaccination, your doctor might recommend to hold off the shot till the child recovers for the illness. Vaccination can be done if there is only a minor cold or low fever.


“Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and prevention”