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Newborn Baby Vaccination in India

Taking care of a newborn is one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences in life. The fun of bonding, the fun of raising a life, and the joy of capturing memories can be very rewarding. But taking care of a newborn is also a huge responsibility. There are so many things one needs to know about Newborn Baby Care

Baby vaccination is one such responsibility that needs to be administered in time and with care. This article will help you explore details of immunization for babies and vaccination in India in detail. 

Role of Vaccinations

The immunity of newborn babies is very low, and it takes up to a few years for them to be strong enough to fight infections and viruses. The body's natural defence system that protects your baby against these viruses and infection-causing microorganisms is called pathogens. Baby vaccines protect your baby's body against the attack of these pathogens. Thus, vaccination at birth and the first few years are vital for protecting your baby. 

What Vaccines Should Be Given to Newborns in India 

Every country has a specific climate, environment, and threats in the form of viruses and infections that cause illness and infant deaths. Thus, the list of vaccines for newborn baby also differs from country to country. This section will help you understand the vaccination chart India follows. The important vaccinations for a newborn and the newborn vaccination chart for India are governed by two guidelines.

The vaccines recommended by NIS – The National Immunization Schedule covers the bare minimum newborn vaccines that a child must be given, wherever vaccines recommended by IAP – The Indian Academy of paediatrics include a few additional vaccines available in India but are not compulsory to administer.

 The government of India provides the NIS newborn vaccinations free of cost to all kids who are born in India. The following vaccines are covered under the NIS schedule of vaccines for newborns.

  • ▪ BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) at birth
  • ▪ Hepatitis B (HB1) at birth, 6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks.
  • ▪ Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV O) at birth, 6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks.

When Should You Get Your Baby Vaccinated

As mentioned above, the first vaccine for baby will be administered right at birth, including BCG, HB1, and OPV Oral vaccine. After this, you will need to discuss with your baby's pediatrician the benefits of vaccines, why are vaccines important, which of the IAP vaccines you want to opt for, the vaccination details, a baby vaccination chart to follow. 

In most cases, the hospital or the pediatrician will provide you with a vaccination schedule with dates and the WHO growth chart for your baby's height, weight, and head circumference. All you need to do is follow this chart and get your baby vaccinated on the date mentioned in the schedule. 

Why Are Vaccinations Important for A Newborn Baby

As a parent, the well-being and health of our children become our priority and our duty. Vaccinations to protect them are a part of that well-being too. Here are reasons why a vaccination program is important for your baby. 

  • ▪ It can save a life – Kids are born with very low immunity, and even the most common infections that do not bother the adults can be life-threatening for babies. Thus, vaccinations can save their life.
  • ▪ It eliminates chances of dreadful diseases – For years now, India has not had any new polio cases. Many such dreadful diseases can be avoided by administering proper vaccination.  
  • ▪ It is economical – Prevention is better than cure. Not all viruses and infections that vaccines prevent are life-threatening, but it can be an expensive and painful treatment if a newborn or infant catches it. 
  • ▪ They are safe – Apart from the fever that pain can cause, there are no known side effects of vaccines. Thus, they are safe for your child. 
  • ▪ Keeps others safe as well – It is not just a threat for your child, but in case of infections that spread, vaccines are safeguarding everyone who will come in contact with your child by keeping your child away from infections. 
  • ▪ Strengthening immunity – In the longer run, a vaccinated child is tougher to fight infections and does not fall sick easily. This ensures that there is no effect on your child's overall development. 

Tips for New Parents Out There 

The thought of vaccinations and the painful phase for your little one can be a little disheartening. But keeping a few things in mind can help you through this phase. Here are tips for new parents for sailing through the vaccination phase. 

  • ▪ Find a support system for the phase of vaccination – family members, domestic help, nanny, relatives. Etc. Anyone who can pitch in for additional help while with your child can get them onboard. 
  • ▪ Keep reminders for all upcoming vaccinations so that you are free and take a pediatrician appointment in advance for the vaccination day. Some apps and websites will send you reminders and schedule for children's vaccinations in advance if you register. 
  • ▪ If your baby has a fever or is fussy and cranky due to vaccine pain, be patient and keep calm. Your child needs your love and care a little more in this phase. 
  • ▪ If you feel something is off and different after the vaccination, follow your gut and discuss it with your child's pediatrician. 

Side Effects of Vaccination in Newborn Babies 

There are no serious side effects of the first vaccine given to newborn baby. However, there are some mild side effects that your baby might experience, which are as follows – 

  • ▪ Pain or soreness on the injection site
  • ▪ Fever developed due to pain
  • ▪ Fussy and cranky behaviour due to pain
  • ▪ Loss of appetite or too much feeding for comfort
  • ▪ A scar left behind on the left arm due to BCG vaccine

Signs of a Serious Reaction to Vaccinations 

In most cases, apart from the mild side effects mentioned in the section above, your baby will not experience any difficulty due to vaccination. But each child is different, and if the vaccine triggers some underlying undetected conditions or allergies, it is important to detect and treat them in time. Immediately report to the pediatrician if your baby experiences any of the following after vaccine.

  • ▪ Difficulty in or faster than usual breathing
  • ▪ Swollen face or eyelids
  • ▪ High temperature (102 F or more)
  • ▪ Rash on any part of the body
  • ▪ Non-stop crying for hours
  • ▪ Not feeding
  • ▪ An episode of fits or seizures

How to Soothe Your Newborn Baby after Vaccination 

Your baby is too little to express pains in any way other than crying and fussing. And if your baby is just a few days old, you might still be figuring out how to soothe your baby when they cry. So here are some quick tips to soothe your baby after the vaccination.

  • ▪ The warmth of your body can calm and soothe your baby. Give skin-to-skin contact to them.
  • ▪ Some kids also find comfort in feeding. Offer them a breast when they are uncomfortable or in pain. 
  • ▪ Ask your doctor what topical ointment can be applied on the injection site to soothe the pain and what medication to give in case of fever. Keep them ready in advance. 
  • ▪ Rocking the baby in arms or walking while wearing them in an ergonomic baby carrier or your arm also soothes them and helps them sleep. 
  • ▪ Distract them with toys, music, or by talking to them. 

When Will the Next Vaccines Be Given to Your Baby? 

At the time of your baby's birth, after consulting with you whether or not you want to go for the optional vaccines or want to stick to the bare minimum recommended by the BIS, you will receive a vaccination chart/card that specifies the schedule for your baby. Stick to the schedule for all upcoming vaccines for your baby. 

After the vaccines are administered at birth, the next schedule for the vaccine for kids in India is at 6 weeks. 

The role of vaccines is to keep your baby immune and safe against life-threatening and harmful viruses and infections. Consider this one of your biggest priorities as a parent, and ensure that you follow the schedule. So read up, be prepared, and keep calm! 

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