Government-run hospitals offer several vaccination services made mandatory by the Indian Government at subsidized rates. Here are the top five vaccines that are an absolute must for every child and adult:
The BCG or the Bacillus Calmette Guerin Vaccine
The BCG vaccine is a must and has been a medical mandate for over eight decades. It is also one of the most widely used in current vaccines. This vaccine is given to counter tuberculosis which is a very harmful disease for infants and adults alike. This vaccine is applied to the outer skin in the arm of babies. However, one must note that post this injection, preventive measures for TB should be taken as it is a temporary vaccine and its effects do not last beyond 15 or 20 years.
The DPT Vaccine
The DPT Vaccine is also known as the Triple antigen. This vaccine provides protection and immunity against three deadly diseases – a Pertussis or a Whooping cough, Diphtheria and Tetanus. It is applied as an intramuscular vaccine to the babies at ages 1.5 months, 2.5 months and at 3.5 months. When a child grows up to be 1.5 years of age, they are administered with a second dose of DPT vaccine. At the age of five, they are given a double dose of DT vaccine which is a protection against germs to keep diphtheria at bay as well as tetanus. At the age of 10, the tetanus vaccine is given again.
The DTP is not licensed for adolescent children, adults or even children who are seven years old or older. And because older kids and adults need protection against these three diseases, a vaccine by the name of Tdap is administered. It can be given from the age of 11 to 64 years of age. Another vaccine is the TD vaccine, but it does not offer protection against Pertussis. It is recommended for every ten years.
The OPV or Oral Polio Vaccine
This is perhaps the most critical vaccine as in India; we see doctors and caregivers organize camps under government initiatives – Pulse Polio Immunization Program, and even go to each house to administer the OPV. It is a must for newborn babies to receive the OPV.
The Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B severely affects the liver, and therefore, the Hepatitis B vaccine and the Hepatitis B Immune Globulin vaccines are administered to babies at birth – this happens if the mother of the child is a carrier of the HBeAg or the HBsAg virus. But if the mother tests negative for these viruses, then the vaccines are given to the children at the completion of 6, 10, 14 and 24 weeks post birth.
This vaccine is one of the safest vaccines and very useful among the top five vaccines made mandatory in India.
The MMR or the Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine
As the name suggests, this vaccine provides protections against Mumps, Measles and German Measles Aka Rubella. In our country, the Monovalent measles vaccine is given post nine months. A second dose of the MMR vaccine is given at 12 to 15 months of age.