The other day I went to my pediatrician to get my 5-year-old vaccinated. The vaccination schedule showed a long list of 5 vaccinations to be done! I couldn’t bear to think about the kind of pain this would generate and how my kiddo would react to it. But when we went to the doctor, only two shots – one on each leg were administered. When asked, the doctor confirmed that these were multiple vaccines in one shot or combination vaccines and hence all 5 were done in one go. I was relieved to hear that, but it also brought thoughts about the kind of reaction it would have in my baby. So I asked her to spare some time and clarify my doubts. Here’s what the doctor had to say –
Early vaccination for better prevention
The vaccines that we administered to my child this time were DPT, typhoid, MMR, etc. These are life-threatening diseases or diseases with life long side effects. Early vaccination against such kids of diseases helps children stay protected. Vaccinations mean that a weak version of the germ is introduced in the body to activate the immune system of our body. This ensures that the body up’s its defense mechanism and the child’s immunity increases to fight the disease.
Why combine multiple vaccines?
The actual list of recommended vaccines for children in the age-group of 0-16 is quite long. Giving one shot per vaccine is not only exhausting as the time duration between two vaccines will be less, but it will also be discomforting and traumatizing for the child. To avoid this, the combination of vaccines was developed. Such combination vaccines have been around for some time now and have been recommended in developed countries like America since the 1940’s
Are multiple vaccines or a combination of vaccines safe?
One of the oldest combination vaccines are DPT (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) and MMR (measles-mumps-rubella). They are completely safe. There are no extra side effects either. Scientific studies show that giving multiple vaccinations at the same time is equally effective and there is no real reason to separate the same.
Is giving multiple vaccines to a child more painful?
Multiple vaccines simply mean that the important antigens of a particular disease are combined in a single vaccine. This does not add to the existing pain or discomfort that the child might face after an injection. Normally, before any vaccine is licensed extensive tests are done to gauge the safety of the vaccine hence these vaccines can be given to the children without any worry. Any rash, fever or irritation that the child might face after vaccination is temporary and the effect will wear off in a couple of days.
Some vaccines are given at regular intervals, what if I delay one of the shots?
Some vaccines like DPT and MMR are to be given at a regular interval. This is to ensure that the child is protected for a longer period of time. A delay of some days due to ill health or any other reason is fine. However, do not delay it longer as the child is not protected in that period. So, if you miss giving the second shot by say 6 months, you don’t need to repeat the initial dose, however, for those 6 months, the baby is not protected against that particular disease.
With my pediatrician’s help I understood a lot of things about multiple vaccines and also busted some myths. Hopefully, you found it as insightful and enriching as me. So these were some of the doubts that I had, do share your experiences and doubts in the comments below. Let’s find the answers together and be well-informed parents.
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