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It feels like yesterday when I first held my little bundle of joy and before I could finish admiring him the nurse came up to me and asked me to handover the baby for he has to be given his first vaccination shot. I was astonished to see how such a tiny little human being be put under a needle . It was heart wrenching to hear him cry. But I consoled myself thinking it was for his good. Not that I am scared of injections, with a high risk pregnancy I got pricked every single day for about 3 months and I took them all with a smile hoping things will get better and I will soon be a happy mother, which I am now. But a mother will be a mother, no matter which generation or society she belongs to. Her children will always be a piece of her heart living outside her, something I understood only after I became a mother myself. No wonder it hurts really hard when my son cries, well mostly.
Every time I go to the paediatric clinic, I find a mom having tears rolling in her eyes while her child is given a shot, of course there are exceptions and I would count myself into the later category now. As time passed by I got brave and seeing my little super star get pricked wasn’t that scary as before. But till this date I dread that one day when he has to be vaccinated for DPT. That uncontrollable crying, localized pain and redness along with fever for 2 to 3 days is just too disturbing to imagine. Well, one might ask 'why bother? get a painless DPT vaccine'. Yes, I always wanted to get a painless DPT vaccine, but it was my husband who after much googling was convinced that the conventional DPT vaccine provides better protection against pertussis over modern days painless DPT vaccine. He persuaded me to believe that parenting is not just about seeing a happy child all the time, sometimes it’s okay to see the child cry if its for his long-term well being . Initially, I took his advise with a pinch of salt. But upon consulting my son's paediatrician and doing some research online, I realised he was not wrong.
So why is traditional DPT (DwPT) vaccine considered better in terms of immunity than the much in demand painless DPT (DaPT) vaccine? As we all know DPT stands for Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus. Between both the vaccines it is the Pertussis that makes all the difference. In traditional vaccine whole cell killed Bordetella pertussis (that causes whooping cough) is used while in acellular vaccine combination of few antigens from the bacteria is used. This makes acellular pertussis vaccine painless, while the pertussis endotoxins in whole cell vaccine causes the pain. Medically both are equally effective but as time passes by the efficacy of acellular pertussis (or painless vaccine) decreases more rapidly than the whole cell vaccine. This means few years down the line acellular vaccinated person is more vulnerable to the infection (whooping cause) compared to the person vaccinated with traditional vaccine. However, on a positive side acellular vaccine for pertussis has less or no temporary side effects which makes it more popular in developed world and recently in India too. Acellular vaccine for pertussis are super expensive compared to traditional vaccine. Upon consulting my son’s doctor about painless vaccine I learnt that it is usually given to the kids who have had previous experience of convulsions when administered with traditional DPT vaccine.
In few weeks from now my son is due for his booster dose and I have already started having nightmares on how much pain he will have to go through to be immunized. However, it’s only for couple of days till I see a happy child bouncing back as they forget too easily unlike we adults. After all a happy and a healthy child makes a happy home.
Disclaimer: Please note that the author is not promoting any particular type of vaccine, this article is written purely for information purpose based on the personal experience and medical advice received by the author. Please consult your child’s physician to decide what is best for your child.