Take care of your baby - important vaccines from 5 to 8 months old

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Make an appointment with your GP (doctor) for your baby’s 6 month vaccines. In order to remember your next appointment, enter the date in your Jinga Life account.

Did you know that by vaccinating your baby you also protect other children your baby comes into contact with? When you vaccinate your baby, you are not only protecting your child but also prevent the spread of infectious diseases to other children.

Vaccinations are quite safe. Scientists have thoroughly tested the vaccines and determined the safety levels. The science of vaccination has been perfected over the last number of decades, making vaccines even safer for your baby. (CDC). Here are the vaccinations that are given to your baby between 5 and 8 months old in Ireland. Make sure you find out your country’s immunization schedule.

6 in 1 vaccine: At 6 months old, your baby will get the same 6-in-1 vaccine that it got at 2 months and 4 months. This protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenza B, hepatitis B, and polio.

The PCV vaccine to protect against pneumococcal disease is given at the age 6 months.

The MenC vaccine to protect against Meningococcal C disease is given at age 6 months.

Side Effects of Vaccines

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Like any medication, vaccines can have side effects. Firstly, vaccination is the introduction of a safe level of the bug that causes the disease. So your baby might display symptoms like a fever as the body reacts to the vaccine. That is normal. Generally your doctor or nurse will give you some medicine to reduce fever. Also the arm or leg of the baby will be sore and swollen for a few days. Simply give the baby pain medication until the pain subsides. Naturally the baby will be fussy because it is in pain and generally does not feel well. Do not worry because your baby will be well in a few days’ time. If you have doubts, or if your baby’s reaction is severe, please go to your doctor immediately. (NHS).

In some cases, after getting the 6-in-1 vaccine, the baby can have no appetite and even vomit. In a few cases the reactions can be more serious as in seizures. That happens to about 1 out of 14,000 babies. Your baby can also have high fever of over 105°F (1 out of 16,000 children). Some might even have severe reactions, as in allergic reaction (less than 1 in a million babies), long term seizures, coma or lowered consciousness. It is even possible to have permanent brain damage but that is a very rare occurrence and it might not be easy to link it to the vaccine. (NHS).

Hepatitis B. Babies who get this vaccine might feel faint so make sure your child is well supported after receiving the vaccination. In some rare cases the baby might have prolonged shoulder pain and severe allergic reaction. (CDC2)

It is not easy to give all the possible reactions for each vaccine. Simply be aware that soreness and fever are normal for any vaccine and severe reactions do occur in rare cases. Rush your baby to the emergency rooms if your baby has a severe reaction to a vaccine. Your prompt action will save your baby’s life or help prevent any serious damage to its health.

It is important to note that the risk of not vaccinating babies is greater than the risk of vaccination. Yes your baby has 1 in a million chances of having a severe reaction to a vaccine but that is not good enough for you to stop vaccination altogether.

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Here is what happened in Japan in the 1970s. Japan had nearly eliminated whooping cough from its population through vaccination and by 1974, 80% of Japanese babies were vaccinated and there were less than 400 cases of illness. After two infants died within 24 hours of receiving the vaccination between 1974 and 1975, the Japanese government temporarily suspended vaccinations. By 1976 only 10% of the children were getting vaccinated. The disease gradually spread and by 1979 Japan had a pertussis epidemic with 41 deaths and 13,000 people contracting the disease. Meanwhile, the government and researchers were developing safer vaccines and in 1981 Japan reintroduced a safer pertussis vaccine and stopped the epidemic.

The Japanese case is a very good illustration of the importance of vaccinating babies and the dangers of not vaccinating. Do not take chances with your child because you will put it in danger of contracting a serious disease, causing irreparable damage or even death. Follow the laws of your country and vaccinate your baby.

Remember to maintain a record of your baby’s vaccinations and development milestones on Jinga Life. That record forms a permanent medical record for your child that will be useful in future especially when you are no longer there to recite what happened earlier in your child’s life. If you are not a member yet, join Jinga Life today. Jinga Life has a special offer: you can try it for free for 6 months! Sign up now to enjoy the free benefits.

Check out the previous blog on vaccines for children 0 - 4 months or take a look at this vaccine infographic provided by unicef.