The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) is the parent body of more than 16,500 pediatricians (as of 2007) in India, and is responsible for establishing standardized guidelines for various childcare issues. The latest guide-lines provide some important changes that child specialists and parents need to be aware about, regarding vaccination of their children.
Here is a list of altered recommendations in the 2011 guidelines
- Hepatitis A has been rightfully preponed to age 1 year (from 1.5 years previously) for the first dose. The second dose is 6 months after the first dose.
- An additional dose of Chicken Pox vaccine (Booster) is recommended at 5 years age. This is probably as per the US guidelines, and due to the fact that lots of breakthrough cases were being witnessed after CP vaccination. For children who have not taken CP vaccination, two doses can be given at three months interval. Adults above the age of 13 years can take two doses at a month gap.
- MMR booster is now clearly recommended at 5 years. While this is the same recommendation as before, the fact that soon a combination vaccination of CP & MMR is likely to be made available in India, would make this a more convenient option.
- The confusing recommendation of some (newer, more expensive) vaccinations to be given after"one to one" discussion with parents has been removed. This makes it easier for pediatricians to recommend the vaccines, and the parents to decide as per their paying capacity (since we do not have Insurance cover for vaccines in India yet), about the decision to take the vaccine or not.
This appears to be a well thought out, comprehensive and scientific set of recommendations that have simplified the Immunization guidelines for Indian Children. Parents should take printouts of this guideline and encourage their pediatricians to follow the same, since vaccination schedules tend to vary across India.
The guidelines are not only less confusing, but also have moved towards International standards now, making it easier to vaccinate children in this era of global movement.