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All parents try to make the best possible efforts in maintaining their kid’s overall health. One of the most effective ways of keeping vaccine-preventable diseases at bay is by following the immunization schedule. The vaccine schedule can be different in different parts of the world, which may depend on the susceptibility of exposure to various kinds of infections, diseases and other ailments in that part of the world. It is imperative for the parents to closely monitor the immunization schedule of their child to prevent fatal diseases. However, sometimes parents may delay or skip certain vaccines due to the reasons best known to them. Well, if you wish to know -why your child needs to get vaccinated on time, can delaying the vaccination schedule have any complications, why do parents choose to delay and various other such topics are discussed in the following post! Read on to have a better insight into the topic!
Why Do Parents Delay Vaccination?
Vaccines can act as life-savers in preventing fatal infections and diseases in kids and if so then why do some parents delay them? Well, here are some reasons why parents sometimes opt for late vaccination:
1. Reaction to the Previous Vaccine
Sometimes babies may develop an allergic reaction to a vaccine. This may make parents susceptible to getting that type or part of that vaccine to avoid the previous bout of complications.
2. The Safety of the Vaccine
Most parents may be skeptical about the safety of the vaccine for their child. This concern may take dominance in the case where the child may be suffering from certain kinds of illnesses such as allergies, cold or other such kinds of medical conditions.
3. Kids With Lung Infection or Asthma
Giving flu shots to kids with lung infection or asthma is utterly important because flu symptoms can aggravate such conditions. However, parents may avoid nasal administration of flu vaccine because this process involves weakened live viruses in comparison to the shot that contains dead viruses.
4. If the Child Is on Steroid Drugs
Certain health conditions such as asthma require administering a high dosage of steroids to control the condition, usually for a short duration. The child will have to wait for a few weeks until the effects of steroids wither away as steroids may hamper the child’s immune system to fight off viral infections. However, the medicines with a low dosage of steroids may not hamper with the vaccines.
5. If the Child Is HIV Positive
Kids who are HIV Positive can be administered vaccines as long as their immune system is not severely affected. However, the parents have to be careful about the T-cell limit of their HIV positive child, which means until and unless it is in the acceptable limit the child can be administered live virus medicines but that may not be the case if it falls below the range.
6. If the Child Is Undergoing Chemotherapy
Kids undergoing chemotherapy have weakened immune systems and thus it may not be viable to administer live virus vaccines to such kids.
7. If the Child Has a High Fever
Many times parents may avoid vaccines if their kid is running 101 degrees or high fever. This is because it may be hard to establish whether the fever is due to the usual infection or because of the side-effects of the vaccine.
8. If the Child Has an Egg Allergy
The vaccines for measles and flu are developed in eggshells. These vaccines are absolutely safe to administer as the doctor may take the allergy factor into consideration and may administer the vaccine in smaller doses to avoid complications. But sometimes parents may avoid the vaccine to avoid any allergic reaction in their kids.
Possible Risks of Delaying a Child’s Immunization
Immunization is your kid’s best shot in keeping off preventable- diseases and fending against life-threatening illnesses. Starting from birth to teens, parents should be careful in keeping a tab on their child’s immunization schedule is sometimes delayed vaccine schedule may cause possible risks not only to your kids but sometimes also to those around them. Here are some complications that may arise due to delayed immunization schedule:
1. Increased Risk to the Child
The immunization schedule recommended for your kid is fashioned in a way that it provides maximum immunity to infants and children at their most vulnerable stage in life. Any delays may put your kid at an increased risk of developing some fatal diseases. Here are some conditions that may develop in a child:
- Meningitis, which can lead to permanent brain damage or deafness
- Polio, which can cause permanent paralysis
- Measles, which can lead to swelling in the brain and even death in some cases.
2. Increased Risks to Others
Not getting your child immunized can not only increase risks to your kid’s health but it may cause risks to other people around him, such as:
- Newborn babies, who haven’t received many vaccinations.
- The elderly, who may be at risk of developing complication from certain diseases.
- The people who have weak immune systems because of medicines they may be taking or certain health complication
3. Other Risks
Here are some other risks that your child can be exposed to:
- In case of Tetanus or Lockjaw, vaccine is the only prevention. This is because this condition does not spread from one to another, which means herd immunity does not work in this case. In case the child is not vaccinated, he is at an increased risk. A tiny cut or wound may become fatal.
- In case of traveling to other countries, your child is at an increased risk of developing vaccine-preventable disease.
- In case of community spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, you will have to reduce your kid’s exposure and he may have to stop going to school for several weeks or until the outbreak gets over.
It is common for parents to have hoards of questions about their kid’s immunization schedule, spreading vaccination, and other associated aspects. We have made endeavors in answering some of the frequently asked questions in this section.
1. Are There Any Benefits of Delaying Immunization?
If you are thinking that what could be the probable benefits of delaying immunization in kids, well, apart from saving your kid from the agony of a shot, there no probable benefit of delaying vaccines. Also, any delays mean exposing your kid to the potential danger of catching life-threatening diseases and infections.
2. Why Can’t I Delay Certain Vaccines If I Am Planning for My Baby to Get Them All Eventually?
Infants and young kids are most susceptible to catching serious illnesses, which could lead to hospitalization and even death in some cases. If you plan to spread out the doses or delay your kid’s vaccine, you are leaving your kid unprotected and in danger of catching deadly diseases and infections.
3. Do I Still Need to Vaccinate My Baby on Schedule, Even If I Am Breastfeeding?
There is no doubt that breastfeeding helps in building your baby’s immunity. However, breast milk does not provide immunity against all kinds of infections and diseases. This means that vaccines are important to protect your baby from fatal diseases and also for providing long term protection against diseases.
4. Can I Delay My Child’s Vaccination As He Isn’t Going to Daycare Yet?
A big no, because no matter whether your kid is at home or daycare, he can catch an infection from anyone or anywhere. In order to prevent fatal diseases, get your kid immunized against preventable-diseases as per the recommended schedule.
5. Are Alternative Vaccination Schedules Approved by the CDC?
Spacing or delaying vaccines is a personal choice that most parents may make to avoid their babies and kids from getting more shots in a single clinical visit or over a short span of time. However, there is no formal alternative vaccination schedule approved by The CDC.
6. I Didn’t Vaccinate My Baby but Have Changed My Mind. What to Do?
The good news is that with most vaccines it is never too late if you change your mind about getting your kid vaccinated. Your health care provider can help to chalk out a schedule for your baby to provide maximum protection as soon as possible.
7. Can My Baby Still Get Vaccinated If She Has a Cold or Fever, or Is Taking Antibiotics?
Yes, of course! There is no problem in getting your kid immunized if he is running a low-grade fever or is on antibiotics. You can talk to your health care practitioner if you have any queries or concerns about the same.
8. Does My Baby Have to Start the Vaccines All Over Again If I Miss an Appointment?
No, you do not have to start over the vaccine schedule all over again. If you missed an appointment or vaccine, you can start from where you left. However, it is important that you adhere to the prescribed schedule to ensure better protection.
Getting vaccines against preventable -diseases is of the best ways to protect your kid against certain deadly infections and illnesses. Do talk to your health care practitioner before making up any decision of delaying the immunization schedule.