Vaccination For A Traveller :
You can avail the full benefits of a trip abroad only when you are in the pink of health. Make an entry in your diary (with an asterisk mark!) to check out your immunization/vaccination schedules before you draw up your travel itinerary. It is in your best interests to take all recommended vaccines and any other specific ones the country of visit recommends, at least 4 weeks before departure. It is also important you consult a travel health expert before your journey.
Each region of travel has different vaccination needs. Some of these examples include –
Japanese encephalitis vaccination is recommended for travelers who plan prolonged trips to rural areas in South-East Asia or the Indian subcontinent during the transmission season.
Typhoid fever immunization is recommended for travelers who are rik of consuming contaminated food and drink e.g in India
Rabies vaccination is advised to travelers who plan to stay in remote regions or engage in work involving exposure to animals
Certain health problems like AIDS and post - transplant surgery patients planning travel need to special advice regarding vaccination if traveling to a risk prone areaYellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow Fever is a viral condition that is caused by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Its manifestations vary from mild Influenza like symptoms to a much more sever hemorrhagic fever. The more severe form can result in death. Infants and children are more prone to suffer from severe disease.
The disease is prevalent in parts of two continents - Sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. In South America, yellow fever is more common in people who work in forests and jungles. Travelers planning to explore the tropical and rain forests are strongly advised to get vaccinated. If you travel to the urban regions, the risk is negligible. The risk to a traveler is 10 times greater in rural West Africa than in South America and it also varies depending on the month and season of the year. In West Africa, the risk is highest during the late rainy season and early dry season from July-October, whereas in Brazil the risk of infection is highest during the rainy season from January to March.
The vaccine against Yellow fever is effective and relatively safe. A single injection of 0.5 mL is given sub-cutaneously.
Precautions include preventing mosquito bites by staying indoors, wearing clothes that cover the arms and legs and using insect repellants containing DEET or Pic
With medical protection literally knocking on your door, you would be more than unwise to ignore the vast advantage vaccinations can provide you. Take your vaccines, boost your immune system and remain healthy
Vaccination For Babies :
Why do babies get so many pokes in the first few months of being born? They are receiving their ‘vaccine this, vaccine that’ shot, that’s why! And why should they be vaccinated? Because that’s the best way to get them immunized against various deadly diseases
So, though the terms vaccination and immunization are used interchangeably, you may have spotted the slight difference between them. Vaccines contain a dead or live but weakened germ (that can cause a particular disease, like tetanus ). The germs in the vaccine are incapable of producing the disease. When we are given a vaccine shot, our body immediately produces antibodies against the antigen or foreign body. It is much like a war wherein our ‘soldiers,’ the antibodies, are up in arms against the ‘foreigners.’ The fate is sealed-the foreigners are overcome and the body is immunized. In the future, if the said antigen gains entry into our body again, the body’s defence mechanism kicks in and the immunity conferred earlier affords protection against the disease. The affected individual does not contract the disease.
Much before the discovery of vaccines, people became immune to a disease only after he or she had contracted it. Many could not survive it - the human toll that succumbed to various diseases was high. Thanks to Edward Jenner who discovered the smal lpox vaccine, the way was paved for further research in this field. And today, we have vaccines against many deadly diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Studies for others are ongoing-it is a never-ending field of research.
Vaccines: Schedule and Indications
Relentless research in the field of vaccines has led to the development of different types of vaccine. We have
Injectable Vaccine: against diseases like Hepatitis B and Tetanus. These vaccines may be further sub divided based on the type of injection given - subcutaneous (under the skin) as in measles vaccine or intramuscular (into the muscle) as in DPT vaccine.
Oral Vaccine: against diseases like Polio and Typhoid
Single Vaccine: Eg. Measles
Combination Vaccine: Eg. MMR (against Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
Vaccines are also classified as routine and other vaccines. Routine vaccinations are the recommended vaccines given in the vaccination schedules issued by the government of each country for its people. These generally include vaccines for MMR, DPT, Influenza, Hepatitis B, etc.
Other vaccines are those to be taken when visiting another country or region where a particular dise ase is endemic like Yellow fever vaccine
Vaccines also follow a specific time schedule that must be strictly adhered to for effective immunity to be conferred on an individual.
As an example, given below is the vaccination schedule for babies recommended by the Govt. of India under the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) & the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP).
Table I: EPI schedules as recommended by Govt. of India
Birth -15 days - BCG + OPV (ZERO DOSE) + Hep B1
6 weeks -8 weeks -OPV1 + DPT1 + Hep B2
10 weeks - 12 weeks - OPV2 + DPT2
14 weeks - 16 weeks - OPV3 + DPT3
6 months - Hep B3
9 months (completed) - Measles vaccine
15 months-18 months - 1st booster of OPV/ DPT
4 years -6 years - DT vaccine
10 years -Tetanus Toxoid
16 years -Tetanus Toxoid
Table II- IAP Time Schedule of routine vaccination
(Vaccination schedule recommended by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics)
Birth – 15 days BCG + OPV (zero dose) Hepatitis B 1st Dose
6 weeks – 8 weeks OPV1 + DPT1Hepatitis B 2nd dose + Hib 1st dose
10 weeks – 12 weeks OPV2 + DPT2 + Hib 2nd dose
14 weeks – 16 weeks OPV3 + DPT3 + Hepatitis B 3rd dose + Hib 3rd dose
9 months (completed) Measles vaccine
15 – 18 months 1st Booster dose of OPV + DPT + Hib+MMR vaccine
4 – 6 years 2nd booster dose of OPV + DPT
10 years Tetanus toxoid
16 years Tetanus toxoid
On a general note, vaccines maybe given when the individual has mild medical ailments like cough, cold or even mild fever, unless otherwise advised by a health professional. Vaccines are, of course, contra indicated in severe diseases.
After vaccination an individual may or may not develop any side effects. Usually, vaccines are very safe. At the most, the side effects will be pain, soreness, redness and /or swelling at the site of the injection; sometimes a nodule may form which will disappear in a few weeks. Some people may develop a mild to moderate fever, which can be controlled with paracetamol. However, if there is any abnormal reaction in the days following a vaccine shot, a doctor must be seen immediately.
One must maintain a record of vaccines taken and update it after each booster, especially in the case of infants and children.