Painless vaccination and what my experience with vaccines taught me
Panic created from unavailability of painless vaccines
Two years ago, I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl. And like every new mother, I wanted the best for my sweet pea.
The leading maternity hospital in Bengaluru where I delivered, had handed me a standard vaccination chart for infants. I was clear that I wanted immunisation for my child against major diseases but through the painless vaccination process.
Three weeks later, I was back home in Delhi enjoying some good old pampering.
The horrors of vaccination began when I took my little one for her 6-week vaccination. I was told that the combination vaccine, that was meant to be administered, was not available.
I was facing one of my worst nightmares - my tiny little baby being given multiple pricks because she would be administered four different vaccines for newborns instead of the almost painless process that I had hoped for.
In Search Of Painless Vaccines
A frantic call to my hospital in Bengaluru brought to light the shortage of painless vaccines. Then began a frenzy of calls to every hospital in Delhi to check the availability and ensure my daughter had a painless vaccination process. My search ended in racing to grab the last-in-stock painless vaccine at a top hospital in Delhi which I learnt later was not even available.
Even after being told that my baby would be administered a single painless vaccine, she was injected with a series of vaccines. I wasn’t even told what these vaccines were for. I learnt much later that an important vaccine had been skipped and the ones that were administered to her were not even painless. This messed up my daughter’s immunisation schedule.
But the nightmare was not over yet. We started seeing the first side-effects of the vaccine. The injected area had a huge swelling. My baby refused to feed and as a result, I suffered from engorgement. By the time it was midnight, she had high fever. Around 2 AM, when the temperature touched 103.5 degree Celsius, we rushed her to the hospital where she was given a paracetamol injection. Though the fever subsided, the trauma continued. We fought through this with the belief that this was probably good for her.
So what are Painless Vaccines?
For her next vaccination, I was in Bengaluru again. Here, I asked the pediatrician the difference between painless vaccines and vaccines that have side-effects like in my daughter’s case.
- Painless vaccination does not mean No Pain, it just means vaccines that cause less pain.
- Secondly, it not the administering of the vaccine that is painless. A prick is a prick. The reactions experienced after are lesser making it a painless vaccination process.
- Very importantly, it combines the vaccine for five diseases (Diptheria, Pertussis (whooping cough), Tetanus, Polio, Hep-B vaccines) so the baby is saved of multiple pricks! Today, we have one vaccine protecting against six diseases.
- Last but not the least, even though the intensity of the reactionary symptoms (fever, swelling) is reduced in case of painless vaccines, it doesn’t mean that the effectiveness of the vaccine is any less.
Being a paranoid mother, I consulted my baby’s pediatrician in Bengaluru but did not get the painless vaccine administered with the scheduled vaccine on that day. I went back and read more about them and painless vaccines. I even spoke to a friend in the US who told me that combination vaccines are common there! And very importantly that within combination vaccines too there are painful and painless variants.
My Decision to go with Painless Vaccination
Finally, after a week of research, I opted for a painless combination vaccine for my infant. I was relieved that in one shot, the vaccine had tackled five different diseases and the chances of the vaccination being painless was higher. My little one did have mild temperature the next day, however, there was no inflammation and neither were there any other issues like the last time.
Yes, the price for the painless combination vaccine is significantly higher, but in my opinion, as long as I can afford it, I want the best for my munchkin.
Today, my child is just over two years and I am out of the regular vaccination phase, but these lessons from baby’s first vaccines will stay with me forever!
Caption: Shradha and Aviral with their little princess Advita.
Banner Image: pixnio.com
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