Is missing or delaying a vaccine dose acceptable?
For every parent, the baby seems so innocent…so vulnerable and defenceless; that your heart just melts and you want to protect him/her against every pain. You are even fearful about inflicting his/her with the slight pain of the prick during vaccinations. You may also be stressed about the possible side-effects of vaccination. You may wonder if your tiny tot would be able to handle the immunizations better at a later stage and tolerate any possible side effects when she is a little older and her/his immune system is better developed. These doubts may make you want to delay certain vaccinations. But this is a wrong course of action.
Vaccinations provide your baby with a shield of protection against certain common childhood illnesses and must be given at a specific age. They are the best line of defence that you can provide your baby against common childhood infections.
Thus, when children are not administered vaccinations as per the recommended schedule, they not only fail to receive timely protection from preventable diseases, but also increase their risk of never fully completing the vaccination course. Published reports have demonstrated that failure to adhere to scheduled immunizations, results in resurgence of disease. 3 This also makes the communities vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs).4
Also many vaccines need to be administered in multiple doses to ensure optimal protection against an infection. A single dose may prove ineffective and leave your baby vulnerable to that infection. Hence, adherence to the complete schedule for each vaccine is essential. The benefits of timely vaccination far outweigh the risks.
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- Smith, P. J., Humiston, S. G., Parnell, T., Vannice, K. S., & Salmon, D. A. (2010). The Association Between Intentional Delay of Vaccine Administration and Timely Childhood Vaccination Coverage. Public Health Reports, 125(4), 534–541.
- Odutola, A., Afolabi, M. O., Ogundare, E. O., Lowe-Jallow, Y. N., Worwui, A., Okebe, J., & Ota, M. O. (2015). Risk factors for delay in age-appropriate vaccinations among Gambian children. BMC Health Services Research, 15, 346. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-015-1015-9Risk factors for delay in age-appropriate vaccinations among Gambian children. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015; 15: 346
- Guerra FA . Delays in immunization have potentially serious health consequences. Paediatr Drugs. 2007;9(3):143-8.
- Smith, P. J., Humiston, S. G., Marcuse, E. K., Zhao, Z., Dorell, C. G., Howes, C., & Hibbs, B. (2011). Parental Delay or Refusal of Vaccine Doses, Childhood Vaccination Coverage at 24 Months of Age, and the Health Belief Model. Public Health Reports, 126(Suppl 2), 135–146..