What vaccines should be administered to an infant?

 What vaccines should be administered to an infant?

Nelson Mandela once rightly said “ Vaccination is the most successful public health story. The lives of millions of children have been saved, millions have the chance of a longer healthier life, a greater chance to learn, to play, to read and write, to move around freely without suffering”

 Vaccination in infants is by far the most important step in bringing about widespread immunisation against the majority of infectious diseases. Thanks to massive immunisation schedules undertaken at a grassroot level, smallpox was successfully eradicated by 1980 and polio is on the verge of eradication. Vaccination for the corona virus distributed worldwide was able to bring the pandemic to a much smaller scale with the symptoms to those infected by the vaccine, if vaccinated completely, to almost negligible mild symptoms. Thus, getting your newborn and young children vaccinated at the right time with the correct vaccine is of utmost importance. In this article, we will enumerate the vaccination schedule as per age. This schedule has been enumerated as per UNICEF.

  1. BCG Vaccine 

BCG stands for Bacille Calmette-Guérin. This vaccine is given for prevention of Tuberculosis. BCG vaccine is given immediately after birth, or within the first month of life. 0.05 ml at birth or 0.1 ml within the first month is the concentration of the vaccine. It is given as an intradermal injection in the left arm. Infants not vaccinated with BCG stand to risk meningeal TB and disseminated TB, both of which are life threatening diseases.

Post vaccination, the infant might develop mild fever, which is completely normal and the parent should not worry about it.

  1. Hepatitis B Vaccine-

The first dose of Hep B vaccine is also administered at birth or within 24 hours. 0.5 ml injected intra dermally i.e. in the mid thigh region of the baby is the correct dosage and location for injection.

The second and third dose is administered at 1-2 months and 6-18 months respectively, as per CDC.

Hep B has a major effect on the liver and can result in liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer in the later stages. 

  1. Oral Polio Vaccine-

Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease caused by polio virus that affects the nervous system. Children below 5 years of age are more susceptible to it. 

The Polio vaccine is given in the form of drops and the timeline for administration is at birth followed by 6,10 and at 14 weeks. After the initial sequence, booster dose is to be given to the baby at 16 and 24 weeks. 

  1. Pentavalent Vaccine

Also known as the 5 in 1 vaccine, it is a combination that provides immunisation against 5 life threatening diseases, namely Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hib. 

0.5 ml pentavalent vaccine is administered at 6, 10 and 14 weeks consecutively to provide complete protection.Intramuscular injection on the side of the mid thigh is the correct location for the same.

  1. RotaVirus Vaccine

Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus that causes severe diarrhoea that may cause dehydration in infants.Primarily transmitted by the faecal-oral route, rotaviruses affect most children worldwide before three years and in most developing countries before the first birthday.  5 drops of the liquid or 2.5 ml of the reconstituted vaccine is administered at 6,10 and 14 weeks.  

  1. IPV Vaccine

IPV stands for inactivated polio vaccine. This vaccine also protects against poliomyelitis but unlike the oral drops this is given via the intramuscular route, ml in the upper arm region. 

2 doses of 0.1 ml each are administered at 6 and 14 weeks.

  1. Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine(MMR)

Measles is an acute viral infection that spreads via the respiratory secretions, and causes symptoms like fever, rash, cough and conjunctivitis. Complications and the rate of mortality is highest in infants below 2 years of age. 

Rubella is a relatively mild infectious viral disease. However, Rubella infection in pregnant women may cause foetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). There is no specific treatment for rubella, but the disease is preventable by vaccination. CRS during pregnancy may result in spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and serious birth defects. 

Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling of the parotid salivary gland associated with severe pain and fever. 

MMR vaccine is a combined vaccine providing protection from measles,mumps and rubella, divided into two doses. The first is administered at 9 months to 15 months of age, with a second dose at 15 months to six years of age, with at least four weeks between the doses.

  1. Diphtheria,Pertussis,Tetanus Vaccine 

Diphtheria is a highly contagious, acute bacterial disease which affects     the mucous membrane causing inflammation and associated breathing difficulties. Bacterial toxins in the blood can also cause potential nerve and cardiac damage. 

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis spreads easily from person to person mainly through droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.

Tetanus is caused by clostridium tetani, which releases toxins into the bloodstream that cause painful contraction of muscles. Characteristic feature is severe contraction of the neck and jaw muscles, making it hard to open the mouth and swallow. Thus, tetanus is also called lockjaw. 

The primary dose of DPT is provided as part of the pentavalent vaccine and 2 booster doses are given at 16 -24 months and 5-6 years, respectively.

  1. PCV Vaccine

PCV stands for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.This vaccine protects against pneumococcal pneumonia.The infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Spread of the disease occurs by direct contact with infected respiratory secretions namely saliva and mucus.  

0.5 ml vaccine is injected intramuscularly at 6 weeks and 8 weeks followed by a booster dose at 9 months. 

  1.  JE Vaccine

JE stands for japanese encephalitis aka brain fever. It is caused by flavivirus, responsible for dengue, yellow fever and west nile fever,transmitted by mosquitoes. 

In India the JE vaccine is given in only specific areas where JE is endemic. 0.5 ml is injected in two doses, at 9-12 months followed by 16-24 weeks. 

Proper and timely vaccination is of vital importance for the health and well being of infants and growing toddlers. It remains the parents responsibility to assure that the vaccination schedule is duly followed. 


  1. Unicef vaccination schedule

  2. National Immunization Schedule (NIS) for Infants, Children and Pregnant Women

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