All parents are concerned about their children’s health and happiness. Vaccination plays a vital role in the general well-being of any human being by providing them immunity from many diseases. This is especially true in the case of young children as their immunity is weaker than that of an adult’s. Most of the major vaccines are administered via injections in the first 24 months of a child’s life.
DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis or whooping cough) is one of the most important vaccines which a child is given and is the only one until now which is also available in the painless form in India. DTP vaccine is administered to children in 5 doses before the age of 7 years – at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, between 15-18 months and between 4-6 years of age. The first three doses are considered to be the primary doses of DTP vaccine and the last two doses are considered to be the booster doses.
The Painful DTP vaccine refers to the DTwP subtype of the DTP vaccine. This vaccine is a combination of Diphtheria, Pertussis (cellular component), Tetanus, Haemophilus Influenza type B and Hepatitis B. When a Painful DTP vaccine is administered in a child, the spot of injection is likely to get swollen and also run a fever. In rare cases, the child may get convulsions if the fever is too high. Ways to manage the side-effects of the vaccine include applying a cold compress on the swelling and a dose of paracetamol to manage the fever.
Painless DTP vaccine refers to the DTaP subtype of the DTP vaccine. It is a combination of Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular-Pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B and injectable polio. In the painless type of vaccine, the Pertussis component is diluted which results in less pain after administration. The child is less likely to get swelling at the spot of injection and may get a low grade-fever after the administration of the painless vaccine.
Any good paediatrician will ideally brief you about both the options along with the pros and cons of each vaccine. The doctor should not try to push one form of vaccine over the other as the one you choose should be a completely personal preference. The doctor should also make you aware of the cost of both vaccines as the painless vaccine is almost two-times as expensive as the painful one.
The form of DTP vaccine you choose is your personal prerogative. The important thing is to not miss a single dose of vaccine and to follow the vaccination schedule given by your doctor.