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Frequently Asked Questions about Immunisation for Children: [World Immunisation Week]

  By posted Apr 29th 2013


World Immunisation Week: Importance of Immunisation in India

Even as we promote World Immunisaton Week, there are fresh reports of Japanese Encephalitis and swine flu in India. Hence spreading awareness on promoting immunisation is the need of the hour. Immunisation can go a long way in preventing diseases especially for children. We break down the frequent questions and myths with regards to immunisation for children.

Developing countries like India needs lowering cost vaccination to increase immunisation. Even though India has eradicated some diseases like Hib meningitis, mumps, Rubella andYellow fever, we still have to eradicate diphtheria, measles, Japanese Encephalitis, pertussis (Whooping cough), tetanus and polio. In diseases that still have to be eradicated in India, there is a 40 percent deficit in immunisation. This is vital to reduce this number as it will decrease child mortality rate.

According to The Coverage Evaluation Survey (CES-2009), 61 percent of children between the age of 12-23 months do not receive the complete dose of immunisation.

As for adults, immunisation is also important to prevent Hepatitis A and B, influenza, varicella, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. There are different vaccinations for expecting mothers, while breastfeeding, adolescence, for travellers, and healthy workers.

Read More, on the Vaccination Schedule of Adults.

Here are few common questions, myths with regards to immunisation for children:

I am breastfeeding so my child doesn't need immunisations...

Immunisations are still needed. While breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, it does not prevent infections the way vaccines do.

I've heard that some children have serious side effects from vaccines so they must not be very safe.

There may be side effects, mostly mild one. But serious symptoms include:


  • Very high fever
  • Generalized rash
  • Large amount of swelling at the point of injection

If any of these symptoms occur, call your pediatrician right away.

Infants are too young to get vaccinated.

Children are immunized in the first few months of life because several vaccine-preventable diseases infect them when they are very young. It is very important for infants to be fully immunized against certain diseases by the time they are six months old.

Fortunately, young infants are surprisingly good at building immunity to viruses and bacteria. About 95 percent of children given DTaP, Hib, and hepatitis B virus vaccines will be fully protected by two years of age.

Can children be breast fed after the oral polio dose?
Yes. Contrary to the popular belief breast feeding does not interfere with successful immunization with OPV vaccine.

Can one give oral vaccines during the period of recurrent vomiting and diarrhoea?
NO. Oral vaccines should be administered only when one is cured of vomiting and diarrhoea.

What should be done if the child vomits after the ingestion of oral polio?
The vaccine has to be given again and antiemetic drugs may be used, if required.


Vaccine India

Med Guide India

*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images


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