Immunisation prevents illness, disability and death, yet there is a growing number of people with needle phobia. While some people don’t want to risk HIV infection, others demand the option of painless drug delivery and high-tech product innovations that promise to make it both possible and affordable soon. But, are we there yet? Let’s see...
What is a painless vaccine?
Painless or acellular vaccines contain fewer antigens or only some of the cellular material rather than complete cells which are found in the painful variants. Painless versions are more commonly used in the immunisation of young children and in India are still usually administered via syringe.
Does this mean all Painless Vaccines hurt?
There are a number of different kinds of Painless Vaccines. While the most common ones currently are still administered by needle and syringe, the future looks more promising. In the making are easy to self-administer, dissolving microneedle patches and pill-sized technology, called the MucoJet that jet-releases a stream of vaccine on the cheek inside the mouth.
So, why are they still called painless?
Fewer antigens mean Painless Vaccines have fewer painful after-effects than older whole-cell vaccines. This means that while it is not completely pain-free, babies and young children suffer far less pain and discomfort than ever before.
How safe and effective are Painless Vaccines?
When compared to painful whole-cell vaccines, painless variants reduce post-vaccination side-effects like pain, swelling and fever but also provide reduced immunity. The protection provided by Painless Vaccines lessens quicker than those of painful counterparts. And since they have lower antibody production, it also makes it the less safe option of the two.
What are some of the most important vaccines for children (0-10) in India?
● Chickenpox. (varicella; Var)
● Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Whooping Cough. (pertussis; DTaP)
● Hepatitis A. (HepA)
● Hepatitis B. (HepB)
● Influenza. (Flu)
● Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
● Meningococcal. (MenACWY)
● Pneumococcal (Prevnar [conjugate vaccine, PCV], Pneumovax [polysaccharide vaccine, PPSV])
● Polio (IPV)
● Rotavirus (RV)
To know more about the Swasth Immunised India campaign, click here.