My husband picked our baby as she crawled across the room. He called out to me asking that she should be cleaned up right away. Amused by his overprotective nature, I washed her with soap and water. I was aware that my baby’s immune system was still maturing which means her antibodies may not be quite strong enough to beat all sorts of bugs. It was important I boost my baby’s immune system that’s why I chose to breastfeed. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions.
I also made sure to follow the immunization schedule recommended by my pediatrician. Once my baby got a vaccination, her immune system allowed her antibodies to kick in and start defending against the nasty virus or bacteria. Vaccinations protect against potentially fatal diseases and boost your baby’s immune system in a big way.
“Are vaccines safe?” You will need to weigh the pros and the cons because the advantages of vaccination far outweigh the risks of side effects. It is important to remember that vaccines are not only there to protect your child but the people within your community.
Here are the vaccines given in the Philippine Expanded Program of Immunization (PEPI) of the Department of Health for 2014:
1. BCG (Bacille-Calmette-Guerin) vaccine
Diptheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Accellular/whole cell Pertussis vaccine (DTP)
Haemophilus influenzae type B Caccine (HiB)
Hepatitis B Vaccine (HepB)
3. Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
4. Measles Vaccine
5. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine
6. Rotavirus (RV) vaccine
7. Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV) vaccine
8. Tetanus and Diphtheria (Td) Vaccine
BCG given at earliest possible age protects the possibility of Tubercolisis (TB) meningitis and other TB infections in which infants are prone. An early start with DPT reduces the chance of severe whooping cough (pertussis) and extends the protection received from the mother against tetanus. Measles vaccine is needed as measles can be a major cause of malnutrition, poor mental development, and hearing and visual impairments. An early start of Hepatitis B vaccine reduces the chance of being infected and becoming a carrier, prevents liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, which are more likely to develop if infected with Hepatitis B early in life. At least 85% of measles can be prevented by immunization at this age. Your pediatrician will give you the immunization schedule and even discuss the benefits of the vaccines and booster shots. There are other recommended vaccines but you will need to discuss this with your pediatrician as they know what is best for your baby.
I cannot stress enough that immunization is urgent. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reminds us that “every child should complete the recommended series of immunizations. Early protection is critical; the immunizations in the first two years are particularly important.”
It’s been 28 years, and my baby is now a lady. Indeed, she got protected from all these potentially fatal diseases.