World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April, every year. It is a public health campaign to raise awareness and increase immunization rates against vaccine-preventable diseases across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) measures active immunization currently prevents 2 to 3 million deaths every year. Inadequate immunization coverage rates often occur from limited resources, competing for health priorities, careless management of health systems, and inadequate surveillance. The goal of World Immunization Week is to promote public recognition of how immunization saves lives. It also aims to support people everywhere to get the vaccinations needed against deadly diseases for themselves and their children. According to WHO, in 2019 itself, 20 million children missed out on life saving vaccines for measles, diphtheria, and tetanus.
With the WHO's theme, "Vaccines Bring Us Closer", World Immunization Week 2021 (April 24th-30th) will show how vaccination connects us to the people, goals, and moments that matter to us most, helping improve the health of everyone, everywhere throughout life. Another study by WHO shows that immunization currently prevents 2-3 million deaths every year.
Importance of a vaccine:
A vaccine activates our immune system without making us sick. Many critical infectious diseases can be prevented in this simple and efficient way. Vaccinations are an important part of family and public health. They prevent the spread of contagious, dangerous, and deadly diseases, like measles, polio, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, diphtheria, and HPV, among others.
12 Must-Have vaccines for Children:
Every individual must be vaccinated. It is recommended to be correctly immunized as suggested by doctors. This can start from infancy and continue till adulthood, depending on immunization schedules available widely. These schedules list what vaccines are needed, and at what age they should be given. Most of these are childhood vaccines. It’s recommended they receive 14 different vaccines by their 6th birthday. Some of these come in a series of shots. Some vaccines are combined so they can be given together with fewer shots.
BCG, or bacille Calmette-Guerin, is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease. It helps your child’s immune system fight the germs that cause TB and helps stop them from getting serious TB disease. Tuberculosis is an important public health problem in developing countries and the BCG vaccine plays an important role in preventing serious forms of the disease in children.
It is best for the child to have the vaccine within a few days of being born and up to six months old, but they can be vaccinated any time up to five years of age.
Hepatitis B virus affects the liver. Those who are infected can become lifelong carriers of the virus and may develop long-term problems, such as cirrhosis (liver disease) or cancer of the liver. Infants who receive the HepB series should be protected from hepatitis B infection not only throughout their childhood but also into their adult years.
Medical practitioners strongly recommended that the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth and especially within 24 hours. The second dose should be given along with DPT at 6 weeks and third dose at 14 weeks. Young adults and adolescents also should receive the vaccine if they did not as infants.
OPV stands for Oral Polio Vaccine. It protects children from poliomyelitis. OPV is given orally in the form of two drops.
OPV is given at birth called zero dose and three doses are given at 6, 10 and 14 weeks. A booster dose is given at 16-24 months of age.
DPT is a combined vaccine; it protects children from Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis. DPT first booster is given as intramuscular injection in the antero-lateral side of mid-thigh in the left leg. DPT second booster is given as intramuscular injection in the left upper arm.
This vaccine is given at 16-24 months of age and is called as DPT first booster and DPT 2nd booster is given at 5-6 years of age.
Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) needs to be injected and works by producing protective antibodies in the blood (serum immunity) thus preventing the spread of poliovirus to the central nervous system. . Immunization with IPV triggers an excellent response of the immune system in most IPV recipients.
Two fractional doses of IVP are given intradermally at 6 and 14 weeks of age.
Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria (Hib) were the leading cause of meningitis in children younger than five years old until the Hib vaccine became available. The vaccine provides long-term protection from Haemophilus influenzae type b.
The Hib vaccine is given by injection at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months (however, some of the Hib vaccines don’t require a dose at six months), and a booster dose at 12–15 months.
7) Rota V
RVV stands for Rotavirus vaccine. It gives protection to infants and children against rotavirus diarrhoea. It is given in select states.
Three doses of vaccine are given at 6, 10, 14 weeks of age (can be given at one year of age).
PCV stands for Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. It protects infants and young children against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. PCV is given as intramuscular (IM) injection in the antero-lateral side of mid- thigh.
The vaccine is given as two primary doses at 6 & 14 weeks of age followed by a booster dose at 9-12 months of age.
WHO recommends immunization for all children with 2 doses of measles vaccine, either alone, or in a measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination.
In India, measles vaccination is given under Universal Immunisation Programme at 9-12 months of age and 2 nd dose at 16-24 months of age.
Typhoid vaccines help prevent typhoid. If not administered, it can lead to serious complications like high fever that may persist for a long time.
The typhoid vaccine schedule in India is included in the list of mandatory vaccinations for childhood immunization, to be administered right after the birth of a baby. The first dose of the TCV is given at the age of 9-12 months.
Hepatitis A is an acute, usually self-limiting infection of the liver caused by a virus known as hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is endemic in India, such that most of the population is infected asymptomatically in early childhood with life-long immunity.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is completely safe to use in adults and children and has a high efficacy rate of nearly 95% in preventing the disease. Once vaccinated the Hepatitis A vaccine provides immunity against the disease for nearly 15 years and possibly for an entire life.
12) Varicella (chickenpox)
The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox (varicella), a common and very contagious childhood viral illness. The chickenpox vaccine prevents severe illness in almost all kids who get it. It's up to 85% effective in preventing mild illness. Vaccinated kids who do get chickenpox generally have a mild case
The varicella vaccine is given as a shot when kids are between 12 and 15 months old. They get a booster shot for further protection at 4 to 6 years of age.
COVID-19 Vaccination Drive
In times of the pandemic, governments all over the world have started with vaccination drives. The COVID-19 vaccine is developed as a preventative care measure, after immense research by scientists worldwide. Developing immunity through vaccination means there is a reduced risk of developing the illness and its consequences. This immunity helps to fight the virus if exposed. Getting vaccinated may also protect people around us from getting infected. This is particularly important to protect people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as healthcare providers, older or elderly adults, and people with other medical conditions.
According to the Indian government, even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, one must continue taking all precautions like the use of face cover or masks, hand sanitization, and maintain distancing (6 feet or Do Gaj). These safety protocols must be followed both at the vaccination site as well as in general.
According to some FAQs answered by the Government of India, it is advisable to receive a complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID-19. This will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease. You would be required to register in order to receive the vaccine doses. The eligible beneficiaries can register themselves on the government’s app for the Covid-19 vaccination drive, Co-WIN, or the official site : cowin.gov.in
Once the registration is completed, the application will show the government and private hospitals serving as COVID Vaccination Centres (CVC) with the available schedules.
You would be given an option to choose the CVC of choice and book an appointment for vaccination. The vaccination will be free at the government facilities and paid at private facilities. The government has capped the price at private hospitals at ?250 per shot for the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine recipients may not be able to pick and choose among the two vaccines available in India — Bharat Biotech’s “Covaxin” and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s “Covishield”, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The Photo ID produced at the time of registration must be produced and verified at the time of vaccination. This can be your Aadhar card, Driving License, Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Job Card, Pass Book, Voter ID or Pension Document.