Vaccinations during the neonatal phase help your baby develop defence against infections and diseases that can cause severe health conditions. The vaccinations recommended for a new born during the neonatal phase are BCG, oral polio vaccine and Hepatitis B.
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin popularly known as the BCG vaccine is given during the first 15 days after birth. Newborns are more susceptible to primary TB, which can develops into severe forms of childhood tuberculosis. The BCG Vaccination protects an infant against tuberculosis (TB) .
The BCG injections are given intra-dermally (under the skin) on the left arm, hence, some pain, swelling or a raised ring of 6mm at the site of injection are common. The swelling eases slowly but might leave a round scar on the arm of the baby. Once the vaccinated on the left arm no other vaccines should be given on the same arm for at least 3 months.
Oral Polio Vaccine (OPG)
The oral polio vaccine is given along with the BCG during the first 15 days after birth. 2 drops of OPV given during the neonatal phase is called as zero dose OPV. The vaccine protects the child against poliomyelitis that causes paralysis of certain group of muscles like hands, legs etc.
The oral polio vaccine has minimal side effects, however, it might cause stomach upset, diarrhoea and vomiting. IPV (injected polio vaccine) is an alternate form of vaccine for immunization against polio. For complete immunization the oral polio vaccine should be further taken according to the schedule set by the paediatrician.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine is given to protect the infant from Hepatitis B virus that causes damage to the liver and can also lead to death. A child can sometimes contact the diseases during childbirth if the mother suffers from Hepatitis B. If the mother is found to be suffering from Hepatitis B during pregnancy, an extra injection of Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) is administered to the baby within the first 12 hours of birth. A shot of Hepatitis B injection can cause soreness at the site or light fever. Allergic reaction due to this vaccination are very rare but can occur in some cases.
Hepatitis B vaccine is given at birth and then during the first or second month. The third vaccination can be scheduled any time between the 6th and 18th month.