Being a parent means that you have to worry constantly about your baby’s well-being. It is important to understand that the period after birth and around the time the child starts going to school is very critical. This is when your baby is very vulnerable to all sorts of childhood illnesses. There can be many ways your child can contract germs, from dirty stroller handle covers to their unprotected BabyRest mattress. You have to do all that you can to make sure that they stay healthy and one easy and failsafe way to do this is by getting them vaccinated.
WHY IS VACCINATION IMPORTANT?
Babies normally get a strong boost for the immune system through breastmilk. This protection, however, will not last long, especially considering that not all babies are breastfed. Vaccines boost this immunity and keep your baby away from childhood diseases that could affect them for their whole lives if left unattended to.
Vaccines also prevent the spread of diseases from babies to adults and other members of the family. This is especially the case for the dreaded chicken pox.
HOW DO VACCINES WORK?
A vaccine typically imitates another disease. When introduced to your baby’s body, the immune system detects the presence of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. In response to this, it produces antibodies that fight those microorganisms whenever they are perceived in the body.
For example, a polio vaccine triggers the immune system to produce antibodies that will fight off the disease’s virus whenever it is detected in the system.
Such protection often lasts the entire lifetime.
THE VACCINATION SCHEDULE
At birth - The first dose of hepatitis B vaccine
At 2 months - The second dose of hepatitis B vaccine, the first of RV, DTaP, HIB, PVC, and IPV
At 4 months - The second dose of RV, DTaP, HIB, PVC, and IPV
At 6 months - The third doses of Hepatitis B, RV, DTaP, HIB, PVC, and IPV. This is also when the baby gets the yearly immunization for Influenza.
At 1 year - The baby gets a booster dose of HIB and the fourth dose of PVC. They can also get their first yearly vaccination for influenza. They are additionally given their first doses of MMR, Varicella and the second one of Hepatitis A vaccines.
At 15-18 months - The fourth dose of DTaP and the yearly vaccination for influenza
At 4-6 years - The fifth dose of DTaP, the fourth of IPV, the annual vaccination for influenza and the second doses for MMR and Varicella.
Vaccination is not enforced by law, but your child may have to get some of it to attend some public or private schools, daycare, and even college. You are, therefore, free to choose whether your child will get vaccinated or not. Some parents are against it while others advocate for it. Whatever your reasons, make sure that the choices you make for your baby will promote his health and let him live a good life. if you decide to do it, you can take what you normally do in your nappy bag backpack, and visit your local doctor for further information. Feel free to talk to your baby's doctor for answers to questions such as side effects and any risks associated with vaccination.
*We recommend speaking to your own GP when seeking medical advice for your child.
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