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Catch Up Vaccination For Children; It Is Never Too Late

Vaccination For Children: Talk to your doctor if your child has missed any vaccinations.

Catch Up Vaccination For Children; It Is Never Too Late

Speak to a doctor today if your child is behind in any vaccinations

Worldwide immunization services have been affected by COVID-19, much like everything else. People have refrained from visiting hospitals for prenatal care, follow-up visits, and immunization out of fear of getting infected with COVID. The likelihood of breakouts of vaccine-preventable diseases is significant because the pandemic has also delayed vaccination campaigns. Due to this many kids are either under or unvaccinated, which puts them at risk of getting infected with vaccine-preventable illnesses.

According to the data released by WHO, more than 230 lakh children globally missed their vaccines in 2020, with South Asian countries being hit the worst. In India, about 46 lakh children missed their vaccines in 2020, of which almost 30 lakh children missed their first dose of measles and DPT vaccines.

Diseases for which children are vaccinated are generally highly infectious and potentially fatal, particularly during the early years of life. If a large number of children skip their vaccinations, it results in a decline in herd immunity which may subsequently result in widespread infection in the community and may also reach epidemic proportions. This will result in an increase in morbidity and mortality. Vaccination is one of the most efficient and practical strategies to prevent infection, both in terms of time and money. 

Catchup vaccination means getting the vaccine doses completed later (than the scheduled time) The reasons for missing the jabs are many – to name a few- complete lockdown during the pandemic, ill-health, lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of resources or any other reason. Due to the pandemic, the worst hit age group missing timely vaccine shots was children less than 6 years and adolescents. This is because, in accordance with the national schedule, the majority of vaccines are administered during the first five years of life. Adolescents have to be administered DPT booster, HPV, and meningococcal vaccines. Catching up with these missed vaccines for particularly these age groups is the need of the hour. 

All parents should get their child's vaccination status checked by a qualified pediatrician and whichever vaccines are missed should be taken up immediately.

(By Dr. Vaidehi Dande, Child Specialist and Neonatologist at Symbiosis Hospital, Dadar, Mumbai)

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