Vaccinating your child in India

There are approximately 35 immunization vaccines given to a child from birth to the age of 12! This make me wonder, two things to be precise. First, how did people manage 50-60 years ago? Did they have so many vaccines at that point? Were they even aware? Which brings me to my second point. How diseased has the human race become? Will we see a rise in the number of vaccines as time goes by?

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These 35 vaccines are what hospitals and doctors follow in Mumbai, India, which is apparently the global immunization schedule.

Within 10 days of her birth, we took our daughter for the first batch of vaccines as per schedule. She was getting three that day:

  1. BCG – Bacille Calmette-Guerin, is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease
  2. OPV (1) – Oral Polio Vaccine (The Indian government is proud to have eradicated this disease from the country, but still are keeping up the efforts of delivering the vaccines through camps)
  3. Hepatitis B (1) – A viral infection that affects the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease

That day she was sleeping since morning, even when we reached the hospital around 1pm. We had to wait our turn and prayed very hard she doesn’t wake up, but God decided to disregard our prayers and she woke up bawling! There were other kids crying too but that was thanks to all the shots they were getting.

It was this festive orgy of bawling and wailing, felt like the kids were communicating in some secret code, only deciphered by them. But the staff were ice cool, the receptionist was at her usual business on the phone, “Hello this is blah blah hospital” with some kid in the background testing her lung power, converting wind energy into scream energy. Imagine the person on the other side of the phone, wondering whether they called a hospital or a torture chamber. The nurses and doctors wore a consistent deadpan look that would make Steven Segal look like an actor with a wide range of emotions. Over the years these guys must be so used to the cacophony that if a kids doesn’t cry, they would spin out of control flying into a paroxysm of panic.

She was asleep for four hours and woke up famished. At that precise moment the doctor called us in. We decided not to feed her, let’s get over with the shots and drops and once and for all feed and put her back to sleep. It was a good call.

We were weighing her for the first time after her birth and we were a bit nervous, the doctor had told us that she shouldn’t lose weight or else we’ll have to put her on formula (top feed) and that is something as parents we were not willing to do. The nurse weighed her and we waited with abated breath… our little monkey had put on 150 grams in six days after discharge! Sabiha was very relieved to hear this, the breast milk was doing its job.

Our daughter was given the first dose of polio drops, she was in a bit of a crabby mood but now that there was something in her mouth she seemed a bit distracted, trying to comprehend this new taste, which was not milk, she reverted to crying as soon as the drops disappeared down her throat. Now came the tricky part, the injections. The nurses and the doctor readied her and I was cringing to see her get poked. But surprisingly she didn’t flinch at all, for both the shots, I guess the hunger had completely taken over her nervous system.

We fed her in one of the empty rooms put her to sleep and we were back home.

Next vaccine, 6 weeks later. The dreaded DTP vaccine – Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis. And this is the painful one. Will write a follow-up post on this soon.

 

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