In India, most of the Vaccinations are mandatory barring a few optional ones. Parents and doctors can discuss the usage of such Vaccines, depending upon factors, such as, child’s age, affordability of the Vaccine, exposure risks, and other concerns of parents.

Types of Vaccines

  1. BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin): This is an Anti-Tuberculosis Vaccine administered to babies at birth.
  2. Hep B (Hepatitis B): This Vaccine protects the infant against infection of Hepatitis B.
  3. OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine): OPV is a live attenuated Oral polio Vaccine administered as two drops usually at birth and continued later on at regular intervals.
  4. IPV (Inactive Polio Vaccine):  This injectable Vaccine is also known as Salk Vaccine
  5. DPT(Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Pertussis): Administered as an intramuscular injection into the thigh of the child, this Vaccine provides protection against Diphtheria, Pertusis, and Tetanus. DPT is available in three forms – DTwP, DTaP, and Tdap
  6. Hib (Hemophilus Influenza Type B): This Vaccine confers immunity against complications like Meningitis and Pneumonia caused by Hemophilus Influenza Virus.
  7. PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) & PPSV (Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine): These Vaccines protect children from illnesses, such as, Pneumonia, Meningitis, and other complications caused by Streptococcus Pneumonia.
  8. RV (Rotavirus): It protects infants against Diarrheal diseases caused by Rotavirus.
  9. Measles: It provides protection against Measles
  10. MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella): The MMR Vaccine confers immunity against Measles, Mumps, and German Measles.
  11. Varicella: This Vaccine provides protection from Chicken Pox
  12. Hepatitis A: It protects the child from infection caused by Hepatitis A
  13. Typhoid:  It provides immunity against Typhoid
  14. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus): This Vaccine protects girl child against Cervical Cancer
  15. Other Vaccinations include Influenza Vaccine, Meningococcal Vaccine, Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine (JE), Cholera Vaccine, Rabies Vaccine, and Yellow Fever Vaccine.

Benefits of Vaccination

Vaccination protects a child against several deadly diseases, such as, Tuberculosis, Diptheria, Pertussis, Measels, Polio, Hepatitis (A&B), Tetanus, Influenza, Pneumococcal, Chickenpox, and many more. Although the human body has its own natural immunity system, it requires further immunity to fight against certain diseases. Vaccination provides the child with ‘acquired immunity’ which helps in reducing the risk of certain illnesses and complications.

Known Complications

Vaccination may cause some mild and severe side effects. Mostly the mild complications arising out of Vaccination are Sore Arm, Low Grade Fever, Headache, Itching, Redness & Swelling at the site of injection, and Fatigue. Severe side effects are very rare and may include Allergic Reactions and Seizure. However, the benefits of Vaccinations far outweigh its complications.

Vaccination Plan for Children in India

Vaccination Plan in India is as per recommendations provided by the following organizations:

  • Ministry of Health, Govt. of India, and
  • The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP)

Recommendations provided by the Govt. of India as per the Universal Immunization; Program is as follows:  

At Birth: BCG and OPV

6, 10 & 14 Weeks: DPT and OPV

6 to 9 Months: OPV

9 Months: Measels Vaccine

15 to 18 Months: DPT Booster and OPV

5 Years: DPT and OPV

10 Years: Tetanus

15 Years: Tetanus

Recommendations provided by Indian Academy of Pediatrics are for two categories:

  • For Routine Use
  • For High risk Children

IAP Recommendations for Routine Use:

At Birth: BCG, OPV, and Hep B

6 Weeks: DTwP / DTaP, IPV, Hep B, Hib, RV, and PCV

10 Weeks: DTwP / DTaP, IPV, Hib, RV, and PCV

14 Weeks: DTwP / DTaP, IPV, Hib, RV, and PCV

6 Months: OPV and Hep B

9 Months: OPV and Measels Vaccine

12 Months: Hep A

15 Months: MMR, Varicella, and PCV Booster

16 to 18 Months: DTwP / DTaP, IPV, and Hib

18 Months: Hep A

2 Years: Typhoid

4 and a Half Years to 5 Years: DTwP / DTaP, OPV, MMR, Varicella, and Typhoid

10 Years to 12 Years:  TdaP / Td and HPV

IAP Recommendations for High Risk Children: Recommendations for High Risk Children include all the vaccines for routine use with additional dosage of certain Vaccines at defined intervals, such as, Influenza Vaccine, Meningococcal Vaccine, JE Vaccine, Cholera Vaccine, Rabies Vaccine, Yellow Fever Vaccine, and PPSV.

International Guidelines Relevant in India

The Immunization Schedule as per the Indian Academy of Pediatrics based on international guidelines considers recommendations of reputed international bodies, such as, World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The organization follows guidelines set by WHO in the following areas:

According to WHO guidelines, most countries administer Rotavirus Vaccine at 6, 10, 14 weeks schedules. IAP recommends providing the Vaccine at 10 and 14 weeks schedule.
WHO reveals that India faces a peak in Influenza virus circulation before the onset of rainy season. IAP has provided specific recommendations for Influenza Vaccination in different parts of the country.
IAP follows the below listed recommendations made by CDC:

  • Administering Hep B at Birth before hospital discharge
  • Subsequent doses of Hep B after Birth Dose are as per CDC guidelines
  • Minimum age for Rotavirus Vaccines is 6 weeks. The maximum age for the first dose in the series is 14 weeks, 6 days; and for the final dose is 8 months, 0 days. No Vaccination required for infants aged 15 weeks, 0 days or older.
  • Minimum age for DTP, PCV, & Hib is 6 weeks
  • Minimum age for MMR, Varicella, and Hep A is 12 months


While going for a child’s vaccination, one should remember the following points:

  • Discuss with the doctor about mandatory and optional Vaccines
  • Inform the doctor if the child has Allergies, Fever, Cold, History of Convulsions, Family History of HIV/AIDS and other relevant details.
  • Stay at the clinic for a few minutes post Vaccination to check for any adverse reaction
  • Prepare the child for mild complications such as Redness or Swelling at the site of injection and Slight Fever
  • Seek medical help if the child experiences High Fever or Convulsions



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