Vaccination in Children
Vaccination is an essential aspect of a baby’s life during the first few years. It involves the administration of a vaccine to the child’s body so that he/she can develop the immunity to the disease. The germ that is introduced into the child’s body can either be live but weakened, killed or inactivated. It is usually introduced via an injection or oral form (e.g. oral polio or rotavirus vaccine). Vaccination helps the body build up the immunity so that the body recognises the germs when they are infected. “The army soldiers” are activated immediately and helps the body fights off the infection much faster. Hence, vaccination really helps to make the body “stronger” and not “weaken” a child’s body.
Most of the vaccines have undergone rigorous and extensive studies before they are introduced to human subjects. Constant testing and monitoring are being conducted on the vaccines after the launch, so that the quality of the vaccines can be monitored. Hence, it is very safe to vaccinate the child.
There are many vaccine regimes available, as the disease spectrum and epidemiology of different diseases is different in different countries. As such, the appropriate authorities will usually seek the opinions of paediatricians, epidemiologists and policy makers before recommending a particular national immunisation schedule. Hence, please check with your doctors or the local authorities what is the schedule that is available in your country. Also check with your doctor, if you are travelling, on what are the types of vaccines needed, because different countries have different requirements.
It does not mean that your child will not fall sick at all after the vaccinations. None of the vaccines can claim a 100% protection. But at least for the vaccine type infections, the children who have received their vaccinations already should have some immunity and hence, should not have too serious an infection. In addition, we do not have vaccines for all the different types of germs that are present.
Since vaccination helps to prevent diseases, it should be good. However, it was met with a lot of resistance since its introduction due to some false reporting, as well as inadequate knowledge of vaccines. Most people are very fearful of “introducing germs” to their children, but it is truly very safe. Hence, it is our hope to “educate” the public through this article.
Dr Oh Meng Choo
Specialty: Paediatric Medicine