DISEASES PREVENTED BY VACCINES
BCG is given on the left shoulder. Within 3 – 6 weeks (sometimes a few months) of giving BCG a small swelling/ redness appears at the site of injection. The swelling will soften and subsequently rupture discharging pus. This ulcer takes several weeks to heal, leaving behind a scar. The ulcer should be kept dry and cleaned with soap and water. No ointment/cream is required. There may be an associated swelling in the armpit or in some cases on the neck. It is nothing to be worried about, but if the swelling increases more than 1 cm in diameter or becomes red or soft or attached to the overlying skin, consult your doctor. This swelling may persist for months or years.
If no reaction or mark is seen at BCG injection site after 3 months, consult your doctor. BCG significantly decreases the risk of tuberculous meningitis (Brain TB) and other widespread forms of tuberculosis.
OPV given at the time of birth is called zero polio. Total 5 polio doses are given in the first year of life. Over and above that ‘pulses polio’ doses are administered at least twice a year (usually in winter) to all children below 5 years of age, irrespective of number and time of previous polio doses.
Additional doses of polio may be given in a particular area if a case of polio is found in that area.
After receiving the DPT injection, swelling and pain at the injection site and fever upto 72 hours is common. Paracetamol is given for 48 – 72 hours after DPT to reduce the severity of the effects. Applying ice wrapped in handkerchief over the injection site helps to reduce swelling and pain to some extent.
Measles vaccine is usually without any side effects. However, fever, measles like rash, cough and cold are commonly seen post vaccination. These symptoms do not need any treatment except paracetamol to control the fever.
Apart from side effects like those with measles vaccine, mumps like swelling of parotid and other salivary glands may be seen. However these are not the rule.
Considering the high incidence of typhoid in our country, it would be worthwhile to administer this vaccine. Newer vaccines now available are administered as a single dose injection after two years of age. Boosters are necessary every 3 years. In a child more than 6 years old, an oral (capsule) preparation is available. This is given as a single capsule every alternate day for 3 doses. The oral vaccine also needs to be taken every 3 years for continued protection.