Did you know? Vaccines are the world’s safest approach to protect children from life-threatening diseases that may be introduced to them by their friends, classmates, and family members? Vaccination is tested to ensure they are safe and highly effective for children to receive at their appropriate ages. It can prevent infectious diseases that have once killed or affected many babies, children, and even adults. They all will be at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, including death from diseases like measles and whooping cough if without vaccines given.
Therefore, parents have to ensure childhood vaccination is given to their children on time. This is because it is important to help keep your family and others safe and healthy. It is also essential to help provide immunity before our children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases, as the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’
5 Important things about Baby and Child Vaccination
🤔We know that seeing children growing up healthily and safely is what every parent wishes for, spending time and money on baby proofing each room in your house to make sure it is clear of all possible dangers, finding out the right nutrition, stimulation, and care during the infancy, but have you realized, one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they get all their vaccinations?
Here are the 5 important things you need to know in vaccinating your child.
1. Vaccination can save your child’s life by protecting you, your child and the community from many potentially deadly diseases, as well as the future generations!
Thanks to great advances in medical science development, more and more diseases can be prevented to protect our children as compared to before. Some diseases that have killed thousands of children in the past few generations have been eradicated completely while some others are nearly extinct mainly because of the presence of safe and effective vaccines, leaving a safer place for future generations to live – of course, if enough people are vaccinated. Getting your baby fully immunized with all vaccinations can help to stop diseases from spreading to people who are fragile and unable to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions such as cancers or leukaemia.
2. Vaccination is indeed very safe and effective.
This is because healthcare professionals and scientists must complete a long and rigorous safety testing and tons of careful review before introducing it to the people. It is also being monitored consistently for the side effects as vaccines may involve some discomfort caused by pain, redness, or tenderness at the injection site. However, these side effects are very little when compared to the pain, suffering, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent while the benefits of receiving vaccines are much more significant than the possible side effects. It is very rare to encounter serious side effects after vaccination, such as severe allergic reactions.
3. Vaccinations save more of your family time and money.
Children with vaccine-preventable diseases may not be allowed to attend school or daycare. Some diseases can cause long-term disability. While frequent hospital visits can be time-consuming and might take a financial toll due to loss of working time with costly medical bills just to treat the diseases.
4. Strengthening your baby’s immune system.
Immunity is the body’s defence mechanism against illness. When your child is born, their immune system is not fully developed and may be exposed to thousands of bacteria in the environment every day when they are eating, breathing or playing which might increase the possibility of getting sick. Therefore, immunizations are here to boost their immune systems to fight disease and minimize your child’s risk of illness.
#2 How do vaccines work in preventing diseases in babies?
There are antigens in every vaccine that can help your child’s immune system recognize and learn to fight dangerous diseases. Antigens are part of pathogens that can trigger the immune system’s response to produce antibodies in order to protect the child against diseases. That is why babies need vaccines to strengthen their immune system to fight off diseases.
Adaptive Immune Response
List of the diseases that vaccines prevent!
List of diseases that vaccines prevent
#3 Are childhood vaccines safe?
This may be the most frequent question brought up by parents and it’s often the hot topic in the media which may also make you think about, “Are vaccines really safe? How do I know that?”
✅ The answer is, yes, vaccines are safe. Vaccines have gone through many rigorous safety tests and examinations by the CDC and FDA to make sure vaccines are safe for the people beginning to take the vaccine. Before introducing each vaccine to the people, it is subjected to comprehensive lab testing by the FDA, which might take several years to ensure that it is safe and effective. Following the lab, human testing begins, and it may take many years for the clinical studies to be completed for the vaccine to be licensed. After the vaccine is licensed, CDC, FDA and National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other federal agencies consistently monitor its use and investigate any potential side effects and safety concerns.
#4 What are the common side effects?
☝🏻Mild side effects are expected, and it is normal!
Many parents may worry that multiple vaccines will overload their child’s immune system. But in fact, children are exposed to hundreds of germs every day and common flu, cold or sore throat will put even a greater burden on your child’s immune system than vaccines. Like any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects such as fatigue, headache, low-grade fever, swelling, pain and redness at injection sites for 2-3 days. However, it will not last long as it can go away within a few days on its own as severe and long-lasting side effects are extremely rare.
#5 Follow the Right Vaccination Schedule
💯Not sure when your child should be vaccinated? Here’s an easy-to-read and parent-friendly schedule to help you keep track of vaccinations.
The Vaccination Malaysia Schedule was based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Development Program for Immunization (EPI-Expanded Immunization Program). According to the initiative, every country should provide immunization for the 6 major types of childhood illnesses but Malaysia’s government has expanded the immunization coverage to 12 major types of childhood illnesses
Worry that your child refuses to take the jab? No worries, we at FirstStep Child Specialist make your child’s vaccine visit less stressful. When the time comes for your child to get his or her vaccines, here are some useful tips about what to expect and how you can prepare to help your child overcome the fear of shots, don’t delay vaccines!
Before, During and After Jab
Before the visit
You can go through the benefits and side effects of the vaccines your child is going to get and note down any questions that you may want to ask the doctor.
Check your child’s birth date as well as the Immunization schedule, list down the vaccines your child may need.
Bring along your child’s personal immunization record or vaccination book and bring it to your appointment as it helps your doctor to counter check what vaccines your child has or has not received.
You can also be ready to support your child during the vaccine visit by packing your child’s favourite toy, or blanket to comfort him or her during the vaccinations.
If your child is older, you may talk with him honestly by explaining that vaccines can keep their body healthy and can have a pinching feeling during the jab but it won’t hurt for long.
During the visit
For babies and younger children
You can distract and comfort your child by singing, or talking softly to him or her
Making eye contact and showing your smile will let your child know that everything is going to be okay.
Learn how to hold your child firmly and comfortably on your lap when you are sitting down or on your body when you are standing up.
Hug and praise your child by saying positive words such as, you are a brave kid! to show your support and give your child reassurance after your child has received all of the jabs.
Babies can also be calmed through breastfeeding, swaddling, and also skin-to-skin contact. If your child is older than 6 months, you can also give a sticker or vitamin gummies as a reward.
For older children and adolescents
Create distractions such as pointing out interesting things in the room or showing pictures, videos including reading stories.
Support your child if he or she cries, never yell or scold them, instead take deep breaths with them to help them cope with the pain
After the jabs
Children may experience some mild reactions from the jabs, such as fatigue, headache, low-grade fever, or swelling, pain and redness at injection sites for 2-3 days. However, these reactions are common and will soon go away.
Check out these tips below to help you identify and minimize mild side effects:
Apply cool and damp cloth to help reduce redness, soreness or swelling at the injection site.
Reduce fever with a cool sponge bath.
Give water to your child more often. It is normal for some children to eat less during the 24 hours after getting vaccines.
Pay extra attention to your child for a few days. If you see something that concerns you such as difficulty in breathing, contact your child’s doctor immediately.
1. CDC. (2021, December 20). Parents, Learn about Vaccines for Your Child. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html
2. Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP). (2022, January 7). Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child. HHS.Gov. https://www.hhs.gov/immunization/get-vaccinated/for-parents/five-reasons/index.html