Making sure your child gets the right vaccines at the right age is one of the best ways to help them stay healthy and keep serious illnesses at bay. During his childhood and adolescence, your child will receive more than a dozen mandatory vaccines, half of which by the age of 2. Keeping track of your child's immunizations shouldn't be left to the whims of your memory.
The recommended immunization schedule is structured to maximize the effectiveness of the vaccines, which is why it is very important to stick to the suggested schedule as much as possible. In addition, the immunization schedule is an easy-to-use tool that helps you know when your child should have their next vaccine, whether it's the 4 doses of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio vaccine, or the 1st or 2nd dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Why is vaccination important?
Having your child vaccinated helps prevent them from contracting certain serious infectious diseases, which are difficult to treat and/or which can cause complications and sequela. Among these diseases: tetanus, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis, and meningococcal septicemia, and many others ...
Did you know? When a child gets sick from a germ, their immune system fights back by making antibodies to neutralize the germ. Vaccination works in the same way while avoiding the dangers associated with the disease. In fact, in a vaccine, the microbe is rendered harmless and does not make you sick. But, when it is introduced into the body via the vaccine, the immune system still makes antibodies. So if your child ever encounters the real germ, their immune system will recognize it right away and eliminate it before it can make them sick. Vaccination thus prevents a very large number of diseases and epidemics.
A real public health issue in the world, vaccination is a means of "preventing the occurrence of easily avoidable tragedies."
This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) organizes vaccination days in developing countries, during which millions of children are vaccinated. According to the WHO, 2 to 3 million lives are saved each year thanks to this simple act of prevention.
How does a vaccine work?
Your body's immune system protects your body against viruses and bacteria. In almost all cases, it knows the way to fight them. It works by learning. In another case, the immune system will try to counteract and create an antibody to defend itself the next time.
For some diseases, the immune system will not be able to find the appropriate response or will weaken the body dangerously.
The vaccine involves injecting the dead or weakened germ so that the immune system generates the antibodies much more easily and can recognize the germ to respond to it in the appropriate way. In addition, this germ has been treated so that it is not contagious.
Once vaccinated, your child should be fully protected; he should no longer contract this disease. In some infrequent cases, children are only partially protected by the vaccine, and some symptoms may appear, but they will be much better protected and will not have serious complications from the disease.
As it is essential to respect the vaccination schedule, it is suggested to make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid delays.
Below is the regular vaccination schedule for children up to 2 years of age.
During the same visit, several vaccines targeting several diseases can be given. Giving all of these vaccines at one visit is recommended, as this will protect your child from infections faster. This method will not make the side effects of vaccines more frequent or more serious. In addition, it will reduce the number of visits to the clinic.
Your child will need to receive several doses of certain vaccines so that he can make enough antibodies to fight the disease.
You give your child the best protection by vaccinating them as soon as they reach the age recommended on the vaccination schedule.
At birth: Hepatitis B
At 2 months: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
At 4 months: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
At 6 months: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
At 12 months: Meningococcal ACWY
- Measles, mumps, rubella
At 18 months: Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox)
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hepatitis A
Possible reactions to vaccines:
Vaccines sometimes cause reactions such as redness, tenderness, or swelling at the injection area. A cold compress (washcloth, bag with ice, cold bottle) will decrease the reaction and the pain. A small bump appears occasionally, but it resolves on its own within a few weeks. Likewise, a vaccine injected into a muscle (e.g., thigh) can temporarily impair movement.
It may also happen that your child has a little fever after receiving a vaccine (15% to 20% of cases). Most of the time, this fever does not require treatment. However, if the fever is more intense and is causing your child discomfort, you can relieve it by giving him acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if he is over 6 months old) according to the recommended formula and dosage. In the case of the MMR vaccine, fever can occur 5 to 12 days after vaccination. If your baby has a fever for more than 48 hours or cries abnormally, see the doctor or pediatrician.
Vaccinating your child, even if it is not compulsory, is a very important gesture:
It helps protect your children from serious illnesses that can have serious complications, create sequelae, or even lead to death.
It helps protect you and those around you from disease.
It is also a citizen gesture; it allows the non-reappearance of certain infectious diseases, which have become very rare thanks to vaccination.