If you’ve got kids that need vaccinations, you need to read this

On our forums, we have encountered a lot of debate around vaccines that pain less and the ones that don’t, given to your baby. To end this debate, ZenParent spoke to Dr. Sanjeev Ahuja, a paediatric consultant at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai.

In the process, he also breaks a myth or two about vaccinations. Read on and find the answers to all your vaccination questions.

Q. How should new parents prepare their baby before coming for the first time for vaccination?

A: No specific preparation is needed. They need to carry their vaccination schedule card that is given during the birth at the hospital. They must also be aware of the next due date.

All vaccines should be given by a qualified paediatrician at the correct age, on the anterolateral (outside) aspect of the thigh in infants. Maintenance of cold chain (vaccines need to be preserved in strictly appropriate temperatures) is very essential, so parents should not buy vaccines on their own or carry them without appropriate temperature maintenance.

Q. Which are the most important vaccines within the first 3 months after the baby is born?

A: The most important vaccines are DTP, HIB, Polio, Hepatitis B and the Rotavirus and Pneumococcal vaccine

Q. You mentioned DTP doctor, could you please tell us what that is?

A: DTP stands for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping Cough). The DTP vaccine is given as primary series at 6, 10 and 14 weeks, and a booster is then given at 18 months and 5 years of age.

Q. We have seen a lot of discussion on our website about the types of DTP vaccines. Could you please explain the types of DTP vaccines and the difference between them?

A. In the primary series, we have a choice between acellular (DTaP) vaccine and whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTwP). There is often a debate on which one is a better option and which one should be used.

Q. Why don’t some vaccines pain as much as the other one? And does the lack of discomfort alter the efficacy?

A: Both vaccines are effective but the side effects such as pain, swelling and induration at injection site are significantly lower with acellular-DTaP vaccine.

Q. Many mothers we have spoken to believe that if the child has fever, it means that the vaccine is working. Is it true?

A. There is a myth that if pain, fever and swelling occur then the vaccine is more effective. That is not the truth, even if there are no local or systemic side effects, a vaccine adequately offers the needed protection. In case the parents are able to afford the DTaP vaccine, I would tilt my favour towards its use although the DTwP vaccine that is used by the government sector is effective and also can be used.

Q. How can parents soothe or calm a baby post vaccination?

A. Paracetamol drops can be given for 24 to 48 hours after the vaccine if the child is irritable or develops fever.  



Disclaimer: This article is part of Sanofi Pasteur’s educational initiative on vaccines. The views expressed in the article are solely those of the doctor.