The vaccines your child really needs

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To be effective, it is important that each vaccine is given at the right age. Most of the vaccines are free and are given in the first years of life, according to a strictly drawn up calendar.

The family doctor or pediatrician can inform you about the date of each immunization. There are also optional vaccines, but if you want to give them to your child, ask the doctor beforehand about their advantages and disadvantages.

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine contains small fragments of bacteria or viruses, which are processed so that they do not cause the disease. They stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies when the body comes into contact with viruses or microbes.

How long are they active?

Some types of vaccines are only effective for limited periods of time, and periodic booster doses are required to maintain immunity. The vaccine against diphtheria and against tetanus is repeated every ten years.

In most cases, vaccines have no adverse effects. However, it may happen that a slight redness or a swelling appears at the injection site, which will disappear by itself, a state of slight agitation or fever (between 38 and 40 degrees Celsius). Symptoms usually go away on their own within 24 hours.

Their intensity can be reduced if you give the child a suppository with paracetamol immediately after vaccination and then every four hours. The swelling or nodule that appears at the injection site will disappear faster if you apply cold water compresses throughout the day. Very rarely, the child can be allergic to the vaccine.

If he cries non-stop, and the fever exceeds 39 degrees Celsius, contact the doctor, because it may be an allergic reaction.

Controversial vaccines

The HPV vaccine can be given at 9-10 years of age, but it does not protect against all types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer. In our country, the HPV vaccination campaign has taken place and is recommended for young women up to 24 years old.

However, there is controversy regarding the time-limited effectiveness (of approximately five years) and insufficient testing of the vaccine, including the lack of knowledge of side effects.

Optional vaccines

Apart from the mandatory vaccines, other immunizations can be given: the Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine, which causes respiratory infections in young children, the rotavirus vaccine, which causes enterocolitis, the vaccines against pneumococcal infection, chicken pox and hepatitis A. It should be mentioned that pediatricians have pro and con opinions about these vaccines.