Vaccination, as we all know, is one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases. They play a vital role in providing immunity against many diseases and thus contribute to our general well-being.
Childhood vaccinations, however, are quite overwhelming for many new parents. No parent wants to see their child in pain. And a major concern for most new parents getting their baby vaccinated is how much discomfort it would cause to their tiny little one. Addressing this common concern, one of the inventions in the field of immunology is Painless Vaccines.
At the time my twins were born, I had heard a lot about painless vaccines but didn’t have much information about them. And as many people I asked, I heard so many contradictory views. Some said painless are better, others believed painful are more effective. Like any new parent, I was highly confused which one to go for.
So me and my husband decided to discuss with our doctor in detail and know all about this. And we are glad that we did because consulting our doc busted a lot of myths and gave us clarity.
Sharing with you below all that I have come to know about Painless Vaccinations.
What are Painless Vaccines?
Painless vaccines are vaccines containing fewer antigens or only some of the cellular material rather than complete cells which are found in the painful variants.
Since these vaccines contain fewer antigens, they also have fewer painful after-effects. The only pain that the child suffers is during the administration of the injection. Post vaccination, there are lesser chances of pain, discomfort and even fever.
The term painless vaccine is generally related to the DPT vaccine which is available in two formats –
DPT/DwPT vaccine – Whole cell, Painful vaccine. It contains the entire killed bacteria (pertussis) with the cell covering inside the vaccine.
DaPT vaccine – Acellular, Painless vaccine. It contains the killed pertussis bacteria with the cell covering removed. The cell covering of bacteria is mainly responsible for most of the side effects of DPT vaccine like fever, pain, etc.
Are painless vaccines effective?
After discussing with my doctor and reading more on this topic, here are some important facts that I have come to know about painless vaccines.
- Painless vaccines are as safe and effective as painful vaccines. So you can choose either for your baby.
- Both painless (DaPT) and painful vaccines (DwPT) serve the same purpose and protect against three main diseases (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus).
- Both of these vaccines are equally effective after three doses.
- Painless vaccine effectiveness starts fading after 5-6 years after last shot. This can very well be backed up by booster shots every 5 years. [The effectiveness of three doses of painful vaccine lasts longer.]
- Painless vaccines are a tad more expensive than the conventional painful ones.
- Parents can always interchange between the normal and painless vaccines. You can discuss with your paediatrician regarding the same for future vaccination planning.
Knowing and understanding these facts, I personally preferred painless vaccines for my twins. The reason being like any other mom I didn’t want my newborns to go through any kind of discomfort. And so it happened, post the vaccine there was no fever and minimal pain. There was also no swelling at the injection site.
If you are a new parent, confused between which vaccine to go for – painless or painful one, I would suggest you speak to your health care provider, get your doubts clarified and then take a call.
As a parent you have the prerogative to choose, as only you know what is best for your child. Whichever vaccine you choose for your baby, the important thing to remember is to not miss a single dose of vaccine and to follow the vaccination schedule given by your doctor.
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Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur. However, the views and opinions expressed in this post are of the author’s alone.