Thank you, dear friends, for your love and appreciation on my previous two write-ups. Here I come with another issue related to our daily lives.
We, as modern day parents are too busy juggling between household, parenting, and work. As most of the times both the parents are working (whether at home or in office), it is not unusual to forget certain things as they unknowingly slip down the priority line. One of these issues is the baby’s vaccines. Stuck between housework, baby’s feeds, diapers, sleep deprivation and of course multiple social obligations, its quite easy to forget the vaccination date of the baby. And, sometimes when parents remember it at a later time, it’s either beyond the OPD timings or kiddo is not well. So the vaccination is missed again. And this circle goes on and before we realize its already one year or so beyond the vaccination date.
Sounds familiar, right! Our grannies used to say “subah ka bhoola sham ko wapas aa jaye to use bhoola nahin kehte” (its never too late). This holds true for vaccination too. There are only a few vaccines which cannot be given beyond a certain age because either the vaccine is irrelevant beyond that age (due to naturally acquired immunity or lower risk of disease) or there is a higher risk of side effects, but most of them can be given later on too.
Starting agewise, birth dose is usually given in the hospital so unlikely to be missed. Still, if it is skipped somehow, BCG can be given safely till 2 years of age and thereafter, at your doctor’s discretion. Pentavalent can be safely given till 5y of age and if the child has not received any dose till that age, there is a low dose safer alternative available. Pneumonia and brain fever vaccines are also safe for all ages, though the immunization schedule will differ. MMR and chickenpox ones can be given at any time beyond 9months of age and schedule too remains the same – two doses two months apart. The same holds true for hepatitis B, hepatitis A, typhoid and cervical cancer vaccines. They can safely be given at any age if you have missed them.
One vaccine that comes with age bar is rotavirus vaccine. It is not recommended to give first dose beyond five months of age. Moreover, the risk of rotavirus diarrhea is maximum in babies below 1y of age, so if you survived this period without infection and protection both, you are safe.
So parents! if there are any blank slots of your little one’s vaccination card, you can always catch up on them. Hence, visit your pediatrician and get rid of your guilt of missing on something for your precious one. Here is a table showing age cut-offs and catch up the schedule for routine vaccines for a ready reckoner:
But hold on! Won’t it be nice if there is someone to remind you at the right time and your munchkins receive all their shots in time? At your end, you can get a photocopy of the vaccination card and paste it in the baby’s nursery where you keep the essentials like diapers. So every time you open that cupboard you get a reminder. You can ask your doctor to put due dates of all injections on the card on the first visit only and believe me, we are happy to do that.
This is the world of technology and we docs are also not far behind! There is an app with the name “Immunizeindia”. It is a free of cost initiative of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics available in 12 languages. It sends reminders to parents of children upto 12 years of age about their pending vaccines. You can download the app from google playstore or apple app store.
So mommies and daddies, while you are busy with your daily chores, now there is someone to remind you for your baby’s shots.
HAPPY PARENTING! Happy Navratri!