How I knew which vaccine to choose for my child

When I was pregnant with my child two years ago, the only things I focused on was my weight, how cute my child would be and how I would be the best, most devoted mother in the whole world. No one told me, nor did I think of it myself, to think about things like vaccinations, finding the right paediatrician and several other practical things that you need to know once a baby becomes a part of your family.

So, when, after my baby was born, and the paediatrician handed us the immunisation schedule, I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do with it. Everything confused me. But being of an inquisitive nature, I started to google to find out more about all the vaccines that were recommended and the ones that were compulsory. I didn’t realise till then what a huge part vaccines played in keeping an entire family and society safe. But that’s a different story.

How I chose the right vaccine for my baby

After the first round of vaccines that were given to my baby as soon as she was born, I realised I had a choice in choosing the brand of vaccines. With this information in hand, my next visit to the paediatrician consisted of many questions. I asked the doctor to tell me what each different brand carried as their USP and why the doctor recommended one over the other. I also wanted to know about side effects, if any, as well as about costs. Some of the questions were met with, “Almost all are same,” but most of my questions were answered patiently and informatively by doctors. For instance, in case of DPT vaccines the doctor mentioned that there are vaccines that hurt less, and the side effects usually are minimal: therefore, no fever or swelling or pain.

This made a huge difference because I didn’t then believe anything that was handed down to me without choice. I went back home and did my research (on Google), took a second opinion and only then I decided what vaccinations I would go for. For e.g.: the DPT vaccine which we opted for our child had been unavailable in India in the past. My initial googling told me that this particular vaccine -- a vaccine that hurts far less than the regular vaccine -- was banned in India. It was alarming but then I checked with the doctor again and he told me it wasn’t actually banned, just unavailable for some time. And that was a couple of years ago. What I found was enough to make me realise that I was making the right decision by going with a vaccine that hurts less while delivering the same effect of a vaccine where the side effects are much larger.

How do I know what works for me?

The best way to answer this question is by speaking to your paediatrician like I did. I can’t tell you what freedom it is to have the answers to why the doctors are giving your delicate little baby injections. I find it extremely liberating to understand what vaccinations work best for my kid as well as how they protect my child. Being misinformed can be a huge disadvantage sure, but being equipped with information, you can make the best decisions for your child.