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Vaccinations You Should Enquire About at Child Hospitals

Updated on March 22, 2016

Vaccinations in India

Nearly 20 years after the vaccination program for Polio started, the Union Health Ministry is revising it in 2016, reported an article in Scroll.in on February 27, 2016. The article stated that even after the World Health Organization’s declaration of India being 'polio-free' in 2014, there are have been instances of vaccine-derived poliovirus. April 25, 2016 will mark the global switchover from trivalent oral polio vaccine to bivalent oral polio vaccine for 156 countries and territories including India. The Polio vaccination was one of the Indian Medical Association's recommended immunizations, along with those against Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus, Mumps Measles Rubella and Typhoid. Other than these immunizations, there are many others that have also gained significance in recent times and are now recommended by doctors. Child hospitals across the country provide these vaccines at their pediatric outpatient department.

Influenza Vaccination

Given that the H1N1 virus took on pandemic proportions between 2009 and 2015, with over two thousand deaths recorded, the annual influenza vaccination should be a priority for adults and children alike. Children's hospitals in Hyderabad were reported to administer 20 to 50 shots per day in early 2015, as per an article published by The Deccan Chronicle on January 20, 2015. Rainbow Hospitals, an eminent Children's hospital in Hyderabad which has an immunization schedule of its own, administered the vaccine to children below five years and pregnant women exclusively.

Timing and Dosage of the Vaccine

It was determined that September is the best time to take this annual vaccination as the spike in the number of H1N1 cases occur in the winter months. Any child above the age of 6 months can be given the immunization on an annual basis, although it must be taken when the individual is healthy and has had no fever in the last 24 hours.

HPV Vaccination

The Human Papillomavirus vaccination is taken for the prevention of cervical cancer and is therefore applicable to only girl children. In order to underscore the importance of the vaccination, it must be stated that in the year 2015-16, 62,416 women have died of the disease, accounting for 24 per cent of the total cancer cases in Indian women. These numbers were quoted by Indian Health Minister J P Nadda, reported The Times of India on March 12, 2016. On the other hand, the uptake of this vaccination has been surprisingly slow in India given that it is viewed through moral lenses. In Bangalore, the fear of 12 or 13-year-old girls becoming promiscuous has rendered the anti-cervical cancer efforts a near failure, reported the Bangalore Mirror on March 12, 2016. However, on the brighter side, Delhi became the first state to launch HPV vaccine as public health programs in schools. The first phase of this program is due to start in July-August 2016 and will target girls in class VI, reported The Indian Express on March 1, 2016.

Timing and Dosage for this Vaccine

According to the WHO recommendations, the vaccination is most effective when the first dosage is administered between the age of 9 and 13 years. The second dosage is supposed to be administered one month after the first and the third, 240 days after the second. Most child hospitals would administer the vaccine on girls between the age of 13–26 years.

Chicken Pox

The Varicella vaccine immunizes against the varicella zoster virus which causes chicken pox. The vaccine itself is made of a live but weakened virus which is incapable of causing the disease, but successfully stimulates the body's immune system so that it is develops a lifelong immunity from it. The vaccination against chicken pox and shingles has been prevalent in India for the past 20 years, but a recent study shows that in very rare cases, it can cause corneal inflammation, reported The Times of India on January 21, 2016. For pediatric patients, the symptoms of this eye disorder known as keratitis can develop 14 days after the vaccination and must be attended to immediately at specialized child hospitals.

Timing and Dosage of the Vaccine

This vaccination is administered in two dosages, with the first given at 15 months. The second shot is given at the age of 5 years. In case it has not been administered at that age, older children or even adults can opt for it with a gap of six weeks between the two shots.

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