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Rubella, Mumps & Co – Which Vaccinations Does A Child Need?
Since there is no longer an official vaccination requirement in Germany, parents are faced with the important question soon after the birth of their child: Against which diseases should I have my baby vaccinated? Advocates advise a complete basic immunization. Opponents of vaccination warn of possible side effects. The fact is: Vaccinations prevent the outbreak of dangerous diseases that are not infrequently associated with complications.
In the meantime, diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, and polio are practically non-existent in our country. However, it is a misconception that it is therefore no longer necessary to be vaccinated. The pathogens can easily be imported from other countries in the world.
The measles epidemic in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2006 showed how important it is to have up-to-date vaccination protection. This year, 263 people have already contracted measles in Germany. Children with insufficient vaccination protection not only run the risk of falling ill themselves, but they can also infect others.
Experts strongly advise against so-called “measles parties,” to which some parents send their offspring so that they can get the disease naturally: measles is not a harmless childhood disease; a natural infection does not train the immune system any better than a vaccination. Moreover, the vaccination is far less stressful for the little body than the disease itself.
When To Vaccinate? Vaccinate Against What?
When it comes to the question of which vaccination is necessary, when, and how often, parents can seek advice from their pediatrician. The recommendations of the Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin provide important guidance. The vaccination calendar and recommendations, which are updated annually, indicate which injections a child should receive and when: Already in the completed second month of life, a healthy baby receives its first vaccination on the recommendation of the STIKO.
So that it does not have to be pricked unnecessarily often, the doctor uses so-called “combination vaccines”. Even during the first vaccination, a child receives the vaccines for five or six different infectious diseases in a single shot.
These multiple vaccines do not burden the little body more than single vaccinations. Scientific studies have proven that infants’ defenses would theoretically even be able to respond to up to 10,000 vaccines at once.
The doctor carefully notes all the vaccinations the child receives in the vaccination record so that the important time intervals between the different injections are observed. If the child is sick on the vaccination date, he or she can make up the vaccination at a later time. However, vaccination can still be given for trivial infections as long as there is no high fever.
It is important that it also receives all booster shots so that it has full vaccination protection. This is the only way to ensure that the little ones are prepared against serious infections at an early stage. With a few exceptions, the statutory health insurance funds pay for all vaccinations recommended by the STIKO up to the age of 18. After that, some of them have to be paid for privately.