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Tell me about the optional vaccines for children.

Q: I am a father of a three year old son. My son is normal and active. I have been getting my son immunised as per the chart given by a Government hospital. But, I find that paediatricians now also insist on getting children immunised with Hib, Hepatitis-B, Typhoid, etc. I seek the comments of one of your paediatricians in this regard.

A:Hepatitis B vaccine has been accepted for universal use in all the developed countries and in many states in India. This is a vaccine against a deadly preventible disease which has a significant incidence in our country, so should be given. Regarding Hib, this is a vaccine against a germ which affects children below 2 years of age which can cause pneumonia, ear infection and some times meningitis. This infection probably (as detailed surveys are not available) is not very common in India, but is a safe vaccine and can be incorporated in the vaccine schedule, but since your son is already 3 years old, he does not need this vaccine. Typhoid vaccine is not a very great vaccine anyway, gives about 60-65% protection. Typhoid is a water borne disease which has a significant incidence in most parts of India. Even though the protection rates are not very high, it should be given so that some protection can be given to the children and surely one should take universal precautions for water borne diseases.

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