Booster shots for kids and why a vaccine schedule for toddlers is essential

·7 min read

Vaccines help protect us from dangerous viruses and bacteria. Once you’ve had a shot for a particular disease, you might think you’re always safe from it. But that’s not necessarily the case.

What you can read in this article:

  • What are vaccines really?

  • Why booster shots are important

  • The purpose of booster shots

  • Who needs booster shots?

  • What experts recommend

  • When you should get booster shots for your kids

For some diseases, you need another shot to build strong immunity. For others, your protection wears off over time. And some viruses change or mutate, over time, making your vaccine less effective.

For most vaccinations, you need more than one jab to ward off infection. This extra dose of a vaccine is known as a booster shot. That is why it is important to know the importance of booster shots for kids, and it is also important to know the vaccine schedule for toddlers as well.

free vaccines for babies in the philippines
free vaccines for babies in the philippines

Image from iStock

What are vaccines really?

Vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease. (For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus, and Hib vaccine contains Hib bacteria.) But they have been either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t make you sick. Some vaccines contain only a part of the disease germ.

A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.

This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.

Vaccines reduce the risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds. It:

  • Recognizes the invading germ, such as the virus or bacteria.

  • Produces antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced naturally by the immune system to fight disease.

  • Remembers the disease and how to fight it. If you are then exposed to the germ in the future, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you become unwell.

The vaccine is therefore a safe and clever way to produce an immune response in the body, without causing illness.

Our immune systems are designed to remember. Once exposed to one or more doses of a vaccine, we typically remain protected against a disease for years, decades, or even a lifetime. This is what makes vaccines so effective. Rather than treating a disease after it occurs, vaccines prevent us in the first instance from getting sick.

Why booster shots are important?

A vaccine contains weakened forms of the disease-causing virus or bacteria or parts of these germs. Or it may be made of an altered genetic “blueprint” for the germ that can make you sick.The shot triggers your immune system to attack the foreign organism like it would if you actually got the disease.

This helps your immune system “remember” the disease-causing germ. If you’re exposed to it again, the antibodies can recognize and kill it before it causes harm.

Research has shown that booster shots train your body to recognize the virus or bacteria and defend itself. Depending on the type of vaccine and the manufacturer, you might get a booster week, months, or even years after your first shot.

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Three needles
Three needles

The purpose of booster shots

The purpose of booster shots is to increase the body’s immunity to a particular disease at a time when the initial vaccine may start to wear off. Without booster shots, the protective effects of some vaccines can begin to wane, leaving your child more exposed to potential disease. However, by keeping a child up to date with his or her booster shots you can ensure that he or she will be protected against preventable illnesses and infections.

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about vaccines and a great deal of misinformation has been spread as a result. The truth is the benefits of vaccines, far outweigh any potential risks.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that vaccines given to infants and children during the past 20 years will prevent more than 320 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Not vaccinating your child or skipping booster shots puts him or her at risk for illnesses and also opens the door for preventable diseases to emerge and spread in our communities.

The amount of available information and misinformation about vaccines can be overwhelming. If you have questions or concerns about vaccines, please speak to your health care provider. He or she will be happy to help your sort through this information to ensure that you are confidently making the best decisions for your child.

Who Needs Booster Shots?

Vaccine needle
Vaccine needle

You may get booster shots as a baby, teen, or adult. You may also need to re-up some vaccinations depending on your lifestyle, travel, or job (for example, if you’re a health care worker).

Vaccine boosters that children need include:

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)

  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)

  • Varicella

Vaccine boosters you may need as a teen or adult include:

  • Tdap (every 10 years)

  • Shingles

  • Pneumonia

  • Varicella

  • MMR

What experts recommend

Experts recommend that both children and adults get the seasonal flu shot each year. While it’s not 100% effective, it may prevent severe illness. Flu shots are especially important for pregnant women, older adults, and those who have chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

During each pregnancy, women need the Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough. You usually get it between weeks 27 and 36 of your pregnancy. Along with the flu and Tdap vaccine, health care workers should stay up to date on their hepatitis B, MMR, chickenpox, and meningitis shots.

International travelers may need certain vaccines, depending on their destinations. Antibodies from these vaccines wear off over time, so make sure you’re up to date on vaccines for diseases like typhoid and malaria. The CDC’s Traveler’s Health page can help you find out which ones you need.If you’re not sure which disease you need a booster for, ask your doctor.

When you should get booster shots for your kids

According to Dr. Tina Alberto when asked about when to get booster shots for kids ( Pediatrician and head clinician of Health Index Multi Special Clinic in Bacoor, Cavite),

We should be keeping our paper work One is for health reasons. Two is for practical reasons. If you want to go to countries that require certain vaccines against certain diseases, they will look for your immunization cards.

Always ask your doctor. And it is also your right if you want to get vaccinated.So it is really important that all across in the lifetime, talagang nabobooster po natin ang ating mga vaccines.

Because they protect us from diseases. As much as possible children should stay on schedule because they are more at risk to getting sick as compare to adults, but it is still very important that

She also said that among other vaccines, here are a few important vaccines that you should give to your kid and when you should given them:

  • measles -mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines are given between 1-2 years old.and 4-6 years old. And this is one of the most effective vaccines it confers around 97% protection sa bakunado na bata.

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDAP) vaccines are given at 2 months (1st dose), 4 months (2nd dose), 6 months 3rd dose), 15 – 18 months (4th dose), 4 – 6 years (5th dose), 11 – 12 years (booster vaccine called Tdap) (6th dose).

Lastly, Dr. Alberto said that it is very very important that you know the vaccine schedule for toddlers and kids because they are the most vulnerable at this age.

Sources:

CDC, WHO, WEB MD

The post Booster shots for kids and why a vaccine schedule for toddlers is essential appeared first on theAsianparent Philippines: Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.

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