Dads can play a huge role in their child’s health. While moms are the primary authority when it comes to caring and feeding, new fathers can and should be a huge help when it comes to supporting their infant’s needs and should make the effort to be included in these activities. One great way of playing an active role in your new baby’s healthcare program is to be present during doctors’ appointments for vaccinations and checkups. Take time to understand the immunization your child needs in the first years of their lives and actively participate in their vaccination schedule. Here’s an overview of the immunization your baby will need in the months and years to come.
Hepatitis B is a serious illness that can lead to chronic liver disease and cancer. The disease can be passed on from an infected mother to her child during birth and newborns are given their first shot before they leave the hospital for this reason.
When: The vaccine for Hepatitis B is usually given in three doses - from just after birth to one month and six months later.
This viral infection leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include dehydration, poor appetite and fever. This vaccine is considered as an effective way to prevent rotavirus infection in a baby’s first year of life.
When: The Rotavirus vaccine is given in three doses - at 6, 10 and 14 weeks.
The DTP vaccine protects against three diseases that can have dire consequences when contracted by young children. Tetanus causes muscles to tighten, resulting in lockjaw. Diphtheria causes breathing difficulties, paralysis, heart failure and can result in death. Pertussis or whooping cough causes persistent coughing for weeks, which makes eating, drinking and even breathing hard. Whooping cough complications can result in pneumonia, brain damage and can even be fatal.
When: A simple DTP vaccine, over the course of five doses, can protect a child against these deadly infections. The doses are scheduled at 6, 10 and 14 weeks, and at 16 to18 months and 4 to 6 years of age.
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B
This bacterium, commonly known as Hib, causes meningitis, a serious disease in which the membranes over the brain and spinal cord get infected. The disease can cause deafness and result in death. The bacteria can also cause pneumonia and infections of the bone. The vaccine is meant to boost an infant's immunity before they develop their own, usually around the ages of 5 and 6.
When: Given in four doses, at 6, 10 and 14 weeks and 16 to 18 months.
This vaccine protects young children, particularly babies, who do not possess the immunity to fight off infections that older individuals have. With the vaccine, infants are protected against a bacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae that can lead to infections of the blood, pneumonia and pneumococcal meningitis. This vaccine is crucial to babies as the bacterium it protects against can be resistant to some antibiotics.
When: The vaccine is given to children in three doses at 6, 10 and 14 weeks.
Polio results in paralysis and can be fatal as the muscles for breathing are eventually paralysed as well. Though eradicated in some parts of the world, this vaccine is an important precautionary measure to ensure your child is protected.
When: This vaccine is given in a series of oral vaccines and shots from birth, at 6, 10 and 14 weeks; 6, 9 and 16 to 18 months; and 4 to 6 years.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella
Measles, mumps and rubella are childhood diseases with symptoms that range from mild to complications that can be deadly. Symptoms of measles include rash, fever, with complications including pneumonia and death. Mumps brings on fever, swollen glands and can lead to meningitis, deafness and complications with reproductive organs in severe cases. Rubella’s symptoms include rash and fever and, in certain cases, even arthritis.
When: The vaccine is given in three doses, at 9 months, 15 months and at 4 to 6 years of age.
Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver, causing jaundice, diarrhea and sometimes requiring sufferers to be hospitalized in severe cases. Children are generally not at high risk of getting sick from hepatitis A, however, this vaccine is given as a precaution to protect older adults from contracting it.
When: This vaccine is given in two doses, at the age of 12 months and then six months later at 18 months.
Influenza, or the flu, can be serious when contracted by babies. While the usual symptoms include cough, cold, bad throat and high fever, a lack of timely treatment can lead to complications such as severe diarrhea and pneumonia in babies.
When: The vaccine is safe for children as young as 6 months and is recommended yearly. Pregnant women are also advised to take the influenza vaccine as the disease can be especially dangerous to them and their unborn child.