Which Additional Vaccines Should You be Considering?

Which Additional Vaccines Should You be Considering?

Approximately a month after you give birth, the baby is given the first dose of vaccination. By the time your child has been admitted into kindergarten, he will have received the following vaccines:

  • All three doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • Tetanus vaccine
  • Diphtheria vaccine
  • Acellular pertussis vaccine
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • Hemophilus influenza type b vaccine
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine
  • Inactivated poliovirus vaccine

Most of the schools usually require a proof that your child has received all these vaccines and may even refuse to admit the child if all of the above-mentioned vaccines have not been given to them.

However, these vaccines are not the only ones you should be considering for your children. Some other, less common types of vaccines that can be an option for you as well as your children are explained below:

1.   Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine

Not long ago, it was a common practice to send the children to play with their friends who had been hit by chickenpox. The main idea behind was that it was certainly better to get this disease at a younger age as it can worsen if caught in an older age.

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However, it is much safer to rely on a vaccine than actually getting the disease intentionally. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all the healthy kids, with ages between 12 months to 12 years, must receive two doses of chickenpox vaccine. The CDC also recommends that the first vaccine must be given between 12 to 15 months of age followed by another one between 4 to 6 years of age.

Every state has its own requirement for chickenpox vaccine for children in school and childcare, as well as the young adults admitted to college. Even if you live in a state where this vaccine is not compulsory, some private schools, colleges, and daycare centers may require it.

Research has suggested that varicella vaccine is quite safe. Serious complications occur very rarely and can include:

·         Acute cerebellar ataxia

·         Thrombocytopenia

·         Acute hemiparesis

The receiver may also suffer from additional side effects most of which are mild in severity. These may include:

  • Swelling, soreness, and redness at the site of injection
  • Rash
  • Fever
  1. Rotavirus Vaccine (RV)

Rotavirus is a contagious virus leading to a severe form of diarrhea in children and infants. Other symptoms produced by this virus include fever and vomiting. If left untreated, the disease may proceed to severe dehydration leading to death.

As per PATH, an international organization, more than 450,000 children of age 5 years or below die due to rotavirus on a global level. Millions of other children have to be hospitalized to get treatment.

The CDC, therefore, recommends getting vaccinated against this potentially dangerous virus.

Two vaccines have been recently approved in order to prevent rotavirus infection. These vaccines have two or three doses. The recommended time for getting these doses is 2, 4, and 6 months. The first dose has to be injected before 15 weeks of age whereas the last dose as to be given before the child reaches the age of 8 months.

Not all babies must receive the rotavirus vaccine, as per a research. Babies having serious allergies must abstain from it. The CDC also suggests not to vaccinate the babies suffering from immune problems such as SCID with rotavirus vaccine

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Like every other vaccine, the rotavirus vaccine has a few risks. The common side effects are mild and go away with time. These side effects include diarrhea and vomiting. Serious side effects related to rotavirus vaccine include allergic reaction and intussusception.

  1. Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A refers to an acute liver disease induced by hepatitis A virus. The symptoms of this disease can last from a few days to even months. The CDC has recommended all the children to get vaccinated against this virus up to 2 years of age.

The vaccine for hepatitis A virus has to be given in two doses with an interval of six months.

The vaccine for hepatitis A virus is also suggested to adults in some cases. People traveling to certain countries and those at an increased risk of contracting the disease- for example, drug addicts and the patients with the chronic liver disease- must consider getting this vaccination.

The hepatitis A vaccine is quite safe. Mild side effects associated with this disease include a headache, soreness at the site of injection, fatigue, and loss of appetite. The risk of acquiring an allergic reaction is minimal.

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Go to an emergency if you develop any of the following symptoms within hours of getting a vaccination:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of the face
  • hives
  1. Meningococcal Vaccine (MCV)

Meningococcal disease refers to a serious bacterial infection characterized by blood poisoning and meningitis- a condition in which the protective layer surrounding your brain and the spinal cord is inflamed.

Children can easily acquire the meningococcal disease by sharing utensils, living in close quarters, inhaling secondhand smoke, or kissing an infected person.

The CDC has recommended that children with ages 11 to 18 years must get one dose of the vaccine meant to prevent meningococcal disease. In addition to this, the students living in college dormitories must also get themselves vaccinated against this disease. Some colleges have even made it mandatory for their students to get vaccinated before officially moving on campus.

The research has indicated that meningococcal vaccines are relatively safer with fewer side effects. The most common problems acquired by people getting vaccinated include:

  • pain and erythema at the site of injection
  • fatigue
  • soreness

Guillain-Barré syndrome is regarded as a serious side effect of the meningococcal vaccine. It is a disorder in which the immune system of a person starts damaging the nerve cells. This eventually leads to paralysis, muscle weakness, and permanent damage to nerves. However, this side effect occurs quite rarely.

As per the CDC, this vaccine is safe for all the people to expect those who have had an allergic encounter with this vaccine previously.

  1. Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV)

The human papillomavirus virus (HPV) is a type of virus that transmits through genital contact. As per the CDC, almost 80 million people are infected with this virus in the United States alone.

Every year, 14 million people fall a victim to HPV. Some strains of HPV are capable of triggering cancer of the vulva, vagina, and cervix in women. In men, it can lead to penile cancer in addition to genital warts and throat cancer in both sexes.

The HPV vaccine is highly recommended for girls between the ages of 11 to 12 years. It can also be given to women up to 26 years who have previously not been vaccinated.

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There are three different vaccines for HPV in the market right now and all of them have proven to be same. The side effects are mild and include a headache, temporary vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

It is entirely up to you to decide whether your child gets these additional vaccines or not. Most of these vaccines are safe and can provide protection against some harmful viruses and bacteria for a lifetime. Additionally, there are no serious side effects for any of these vaccines.

It is, however, recommended to consult with a doctor regarding the possibility of encountering any serious side effects due to vaccination.

 

Nancy Walker

Nancy holds a Medicine degree and a Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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