Types of vaccines for children include Hepatitis A (HA) Vaccine, Hepatitis B (HB) vaccine, H influenza B (HIB) vaccine, Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine, BCG vaccine, polio vaccine, Triple (DPT) vaccine, Measles vaccine, mumps vaccine, Rubella vaccine, MMR vaccine, Typhoid vaccine, Cholera vaccine and Influenza vaccine.
The basic different types of vaccines explained !
Hepatitis A (HA) Vaccine:
Until recently, it was believed that since hepatitis A is endemic in India, it is usually mild or even asymptomatic and confers lifelong immunity and routine HA vaccination may not be necessary.
However, in the light of recent observations that incidence and level of natural immunity in India is much less than what was made out earlier, it has been recommended that it should be given to children from families with high standard of living.
These children are less likely to have developed enough of natural immunity to this infection.
HA vaccine is given as a single dose after 1 year of age intramuscularly with a booster 6-12 months later.
A yet newer hepatitis A vaccine suffices as a single dose once only and booster injection may not be required.
Hepatitis B (HB) vaccine:
This vaccine is important in the prevention of hepatitis B, a disease which has no cure and may end up in chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver cancer.
The disease is transmitted through contaminated blood transfusion, needles and syringes, sexual contact with its carrier in addition to infection to the neonate from the carrier mother.
As a rule, HB vaccine is given at 0, 1 and 6 months. If it is given early enough, the recommendation is 0, 6 and 14 weeks, or 6, 10 and 14 weeks.
H influenza B (HIB) vaccine:
This vaccine gives protection against H influenza type B infection which is notorious for causing serious throat, lung and brain infection in infants and toddlers.
In infants under 6 months it is given in 3 doses and in 6-12 months in 2 doses, 1-2 months apart, starting at as young an age as 2 months. Booster is recommended at 15-18 months. Over 1 year of age, only a single injection is good enough.
Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine:
Most healthy children may have natural chickenpox. However, in adolescents and preadolescents, likelihood of severe chickenpox becomes high.
Therefore, the doctor may opt to give this vaccine. Dose for 1-12 years is single but at 13 years and later it needs to be given twice at 6-12 weeks gap.
The other types of vaccines for children are BCG vaccine and polio vaccine
Triple (DPT) vaccination:
This is a combined vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus – the three diseases that are responsible for considerable ill-health and deaths in the child population of developing countries.
DPT vaccination is done at the same sittings as for polio vaccination. Beyond the age of five years, pertussis component in the vaccine is omitted.
What is given is DT. This is because, before this age, complications of the pertussis component are far worse than the disease per se.
Triple vaccine is given as deep intramuscular injection over the external part of the thigh or the muscle mass of the upper arm. Within a few hours of the injection, most babies develop fever and the baby may feel tenderness over the injection site.
You may give him paracetamol and apply hot fomentation locally. If an injection abscess is formed, you must seek medical advice. Do not worry about the small lump that you may be able to feel at the injection site. It will disappear in two to three months.
Do not give the baby DPT vaccine if he is suffering from epilepsy and during a febrile illness. Mild diarrhoea or running nose are not contraindications to its administration.
This vaccine is not yet freely available in developing regions and is expensive. Your doctor will like to give it to the baby by injection between nine and twelve months of age, or perhaps after that.
A single injection produces immunity against measles for a prolonged period. Boosters are not required.
Among the various conditions in which the doctor may not like to give this vaccine rank any acute and fulminant illness, allergy, eczema, and convulsions.
The vaccine is quite safe provided due precautions are taken. At times, the baby may develop high fever and perhaps fits. At the time of vaccination, the doctor will guide you as to what to do if such complications occur.
This vaccine is very effective against mumps. Only one injection is sufficient. It is very safe.
A single injection of this vaccine gives excellent protection against rubella or German measles. It is safe.
This is a combination of three different types of vaccines for children – measles, mumps and rubella vaccines – all in one.
MMR is recommended as a backup dose for protection against measles in the second year of life (at around 15 months of age), at least three months following primary measles vaccination in the first year. It gives additional protection against mumps and rubella.
Polysaccharide Vi typhoid vaccine is now usually employed. The dose is one injection given SC or IM as a single dose every three years. It confers a protection of 75 to 100%. Only mild local pain and fever may rarely occur as side effects.
Except under special circumstances and travel to certain countries, cholera vaccination need not be given.
Children under five years require two doses. Just one dose suffices for older children. This gives protection for three to six months.
The vaccine may cause local pain and fever which respond favourably to paracetamol.
Currently this vaccine needs to be imported. Given as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection, it protects against influenza, the so called flu.