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Which all vaccines does my child need?

Q: I have heard that the rotavirus vaccines are available in India but I want to know which one to give my child - Glaxo Smithline Rotarix, which is monovalent or Rotateq of Merck Inc, which is pentavalent? Is there any other vaccine of Rotavirus, which is more effective? In my daughter’s vaccine schedule there is no mention of the Pneumiococcal Conjugate Vaccine and Varicella. When do I need to give these and how many doses? Is there a particular brand or company for it? Is there any vaccine, which is not mentioned in schedule but I can give her to counter diseases like chicken pox, measles, small pox, malaria, viral infections, cancer, swine flu, etc. When do I give my baby the chicken pox vaccine? Can HPV be given when she is 10 years old and is it for cervical cancer among females? Please advise.

A:There are many strains of rotavirus worldwide; over 20 have already been identified. Rotarix vaccine contains one strain called G1P(8). RotaTeq contains five strains G1 to G4 plus P1(8). Since strains differ from country to country and sometimes even year-to-year, a vaccine with 100% efficacy is not available. Research in India shows that apart from G1 to G4 strains, there are other strains called G5, G8, G9 and G12. None of these are covered by the two vaccines manufactured abroad. Besides nearly all cases of severe rotavirus infections occur under the age of 2 years. Hence, vaccination for rotavirus should be completed early in infancy by the age of six months.

Pneumococcal vaccine is not routinely recommended due to concern on efficacy and even more important safety. Small Pox has been eradicated worldwide and hence no vaccination is required. There are no vaccines for malaria, ‘viral infections’ or cancer (malignancy is of various types and various organs without any connection). Vaccinations for chicken pox (varicella) are available and can be given from 9 months onwards. Measles vaccine is part of MMR, which is part of the vaccination schedule in India. HPV is to prevent certain strains of the virus and is not an ‘anti-cancer’ vaccine per se. Not all cases of cervical cancer are due to HPV.


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