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Should I give pneumonia vaccine to my daughter?

Q: The doctor has asked to vaccinate my 2.5 years old daughter against pneumonia. I had come across a report of drug action forum of Karnataka, which claims that this vaccine is not effective against clinical pneumonia. Moreover it claims it increases risk of asthma in vaccinated children. Should I go ahead and vaccinate my child or not?

A:This vaccine offers protection against some types of bacteria, which causes pneumonia in children, namely pneumococcus. The child will remain susceptible to other types of this bacterium that are not included in the vaccine and also other bacteria. Thus it will offer some but not complete protection against developing pneumonia. The vaccine is quite safe. However, it is also very expensive - a full course in the newborn will cost Rs. 16,000/-. If you can easily afford this money, please go ahead and give it. If not, do not lose sleep over it.

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