Your child is highly susceptible to dangerous diseases. According to World Health Organization (WHO), a child in this respect is any of your children below the age of 18 years, including your undelivered baby. In order to protect children against such diseases, various vaccines have been developed. Since the development of essential vaccines, cases of infant mortality have greatly reduced worldwide, a clear indication of the importance of vaccinations in children. Actually, different governments in the world allocate huge financial resources to their relevant health authorities mandated to manage various vaccination programs. WHO also assists different governments in running such programs not only to protect children against diseases but also to prevent new cases of the same.
Because different regions of the world have different risks in the occurrence of various childhood diseases and illnesses, you may find that some vaccines are common in certain regions but not in others. Whichever the case, your child is bound to receive the first vaccination immediately after birth. Such vaccination is meant to offer immediate protection against known diseases that infants are susceptible to and that cause death or disability. Some of the essential vaccines that you need to ensure your baby receives include:
- At Birth – Your baby is bound to receive BCG vaccination immediately after birth. It is mandatory in many jurisdictions. The vaccine provides protection against Tuberculosis and is usually given as a single dose. In other countries, Hepatitis B (HBV) vaccination is also given at birth.
- At Two Months – During postnatal clinic, your baby is bound to receive DTP vaccination at four months. This vaccination offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis and whooping cough. In some jurisdictions, a second dose of Hepatitis B is given. Your baby may also receive Pneumococcal vaccination for protection against pneumonia. In some countries, Rotavirus vaccine is given at this age.
- At Four Months – Your baby is bound to receive a second dose of DTP vaccine. In some jurisdictions, a third dose of Hepatitis B vaccine and a second dose of Pneumococcal vaccines are given.
- At Six Months – Your baby will receive a third DTP dose and possibly a fourth dose of HBV vaccine and a third dose of Pneumococcal vaccine. In some jurisdictions, Seasonal influenza vaccine is given at this age to protect babies against H1N1 flu.
- At 12 Months – A fourth dose of HBV vaccine is given in addition to Meningococcal C vaccine to protect your baby against meningitis. Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination is also given for protection against measles, mumps and rubella.
- At 15 Months – Your baby is bound to receive a second dose of MMR vaccination, Hepatitis A (HVA) vaccination and Chickenpox (Varicella) vaccination.
- At Five years – Your child is bound to receive another dose of MMR, DTP, and Varicella vaccinations. Most governments around the world have elaborate vaccination programs undertaken in schools and social places.
- At Between 10-18 years – Your child is bound to receive another dose of HBV, Varicella, Human Papillomaviruses (HPV), DTP, and meningitis vaccinations.
Note that although most vaccines are common, they are not mandatory in all countries. Some are only administered in high-risk areas. In addition, some vaccinations are usually repeated in case of disease outbreaks whether your child previously received the vaccination or not. It is very important to know your country’s child vaccination and immunization schedule to ensure that your child or children are adequately protected. This is why it is paramount to attend prenatal clinics. In most jurisdictions, the vaccinations are free of any cost.