Synonyms in the broadest sense

Immunization, vaccine


    Vaccinations are there to protect the human organism from disease by preparing it for it. This is done with the help of attenuated pathogens or already finished antibodies that are injected.


    Childhood vaccination is still a hot topic today. Vaccination is important, but in addition to the obvious benefits, it also has undesirable side effects. In order to protect a child from seemingly harmless diseases (eg chickenpox) and obvious dangerous illness (eg diphtheria ), we now have a number of vaccinations available.

    Why should you have your child vaccinated?

    A vaccine is still very important today. Your child will be protected from vaccination by diseases that can cause unpleasant and disastrous consequences.
    Even if a condition such as chickenpox sounds harmless, children can suffer from complications such as - in the worst case - lung or meningitis, which can even be fatal. Sure, these complications are rare, but still more common than the vaccine damage often feared by parents.

    In Germany, the mandatory vaccinations are abolished. The parents are therefore responsible for whether their children are vaccinated or not. Many parents can no longer imagine today that there are still diseases such as polio. In fact, such diseases are almost extinguished in Europe - thanks to the high vaccination of the population. If one has the attitude that one does not have to vaccinate his child because of this, one unfortunately contributes to the fact that these diseases regain their appearance without vaccination.
    For example, tuberculosis from the eastern countries is on the rise again. Once you reach us, this can be a big problem because, for example, in Germany children are no longer being vaccinated against tuberculosis, so they can catch this dangerous disease.

    Many parents are worried about their children when it comes to vaccination. Many fear that their child will be able to withhold lasting damage. It has to be said that in Germany there is no vaccine officially approved by STIKO for which permanent damage could be reliably detected.

    Recommended vaccinations for the baby

    The vaccination recommendations are issued by the STIKO (permanent vaccination commission of the Robert Koch Institute). Pediatricians advise parents according to this scheme regarding necessary and useful vaccinations.

    According to the STIKO vaccination calendar, vaccines in the baby at the age of 1.5 months begin with a vaccine against rotavirus. At the age of 2 to 15 months vaccinations against tetanus, polio, pertussis (pertussis), diphtheria, as well as hemophilus influenza, the causative agent of epiglottitis, hepatitis B (chronic liver inflammation) and pneumococci, the cause of pneumonia.
    These vaccinations are performed four times by the 15th month of life.

    In addition, further vaccinations against rotaviruses. Booster vaccinations follow in childhood and adolescence.

    Infantrix / 6-fold vaccination

    The Infanrix 6x vaccine, also known as Infanrix hexa, protects against six different infectious diseases. These include poliomyelitis (poliomyelitis), diphtheria (a disease that can lead to severe infections of the throat and shortness of breath), tetanus (tetanus), pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B (a chronic inflammation of the liver that can lead to liver failure) and Infections with the bacterium Haemophilus influenza type B (a bacterium that can cause meningeal and severe laryngeal inflammation).

    The vaccine is usually given after the second, third and fourth month of life. Another dose of vaccine will follow half a year later. After the vaccination, the puncture site may appear temporarily reddened and swollen.

    Common side effects of Infanrix hexa include:

    • Fever,
    • Loss of appetite,
    • Restlessness,
    • Irritability,
    • diarrhea
    • and vomiting.

    All listed side effects disappear completely within a few days. Infanrix hexa is one of the recommended vaccinations for children. The price for the vaccination is therefore taken over by all health insurance companies.

    Vaccination against whooping cough

    It is recommended to vaccinate every person against whooping cough. Children are vaccinated after the second month of life for the first time according to the vaccination calendar against Keuchusten along with other infectious diseases by the pediatrician. Then there are 3 more vaccinations after the 3rd month of life, the 4th month of life and the 11th-14th month of life.

    Booster vaccinations take place between the age of 5 and 6 and 9-17. Age. In adulthood, a booster dose is administered once. At least 10 years should elapse between vaccination and the last vaccination in childhood. Should vaccinations be missed, they can be made up - even in adulthood.

    The booster cough booster vaccine, unlike the tetanus and diphtheria vaccines, occurs only once in adult life. By booster vaccination in adulthood, both the immunity to whooping cough the vaccinated person ensures and the transmission of the disease to other people avoided.

    Particularly important is the vaccination against whooping cough in adults who have a lot to do with children. This is especially true for pediatric nurses, pediatric nurses, childminders, KiTA staff, etc. Since the infection in adults can be a flu and thus the infection with whooping cough can be overlooked, it can lead to a transfer to non-vaccinable children or newborns.

    Vaccine against polio

    Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a serious viral disease that can rarely lead to permanent flaccid paralyzes.
    Although Europe is now considered polio-free, there are still polio cases in other parts of the world. The vaccine against polio is contained in the sixfold vaccine Infanrix hexa, which is administered after the second, third and fourth month of life. A fourth vaccination takes place between the eleventh and 14th month of life. Fever often occurs as a temporary vaccination reaction. Also swelling and redness of the puncture site and flu-like symptoms can be observed. All symptoms disappear completely after a few days.

    Measles vaccination

    Nowadays, measles vaccination is part of the primary immunization of infants from 12 months of age. Because measles continue to exist and, in rare cases, can lead to the fatal complication of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis with brain destruction, vaccination is also recommended for adults.
    This applies above all to all persons born after 1970 who have no vaccination or unclear vaccination status.

    In addition, since a measles infection during pregnancy can lead to abortion or malformations of the child, especially women are vaccinated before pregnancy, if the vaccination status is not clear.
    As measles vaccination is a live vaccine with attenuated pathogens, a new booster dose is not necessary.

    Vaccination against rotaviruses

    The vaccine against rotaviruses takes place after 1 ½, 2 and 3 months by oral vaccine. The vaccine should be administered approximately every four weeks. The rotavirus vaccine is a live vaccine. That is, the immune system produces antibodies against the viruses responsible for the rotavirus. Rotavirus is very common and causes severe diarrhea in both children and adults. As this can be particularly dangerous for children and the elderly, a vaccine against rotavirus should be carried out.

    Typhoid vaccine

    Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Symptoms are:

    • Stomach pain,
    • Nausea,
    • strong diarrhea
    • and fever.

    In rare cases, intestinal perforations (intestinal perforations) may occur. Typhoid bacteria are found in contaminated food and stale water. Therefore, caution is required in risk areas when choosing food and drinks.
    For the treatment of typhoid, a vaccine and a muscle-to-muscle vaccine are available. Both show an efficacy of 50-80%.

    The oral vaccine is taken on the first, third and fifth day and provides protection against typhoid infection for approximately one year. However, vaccination with concomitant use of antibiotics or ingestion of malaria prophylaxis is ineffective.

    The vaccine given by injection into the muscle only needs to be done once. The protective effect then lasts about three years. It is reported that this form of vaccination shows slightly more side effects than the oral vaccine. For example, a frequent fever occurs. Generally, however, both forms of vaccination are side effects.

    The vaccination calendar provides information

    Parents often ask themselves when they should have their child vaccinated against which disease. Here is the so-called Impfkalender information. Here are all recommended child vaccinations with recommended vaccination age specified. Not specified here are vaccinations that relate to stays abroad. Also not included are the indication vaccinations, such as TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis). The following is a calendar based on the vaccinations recommended by STIKO:

    immunization schedule

    • tetanus
      • 2 months (1st vaccination)
      • 3 months (2nd vaccination)
      • 4 months (3rd vaccination)
      • 11 + 14 months (4th vaccination)
      • 5-6 years (1st refresher)
      • 9-17 years (2nd refresher)
    • Diptheria
      • see tetanus
    • whooping cough
      • see tetanus
    • Hib
      • see Tetanus (without refresher)
    • polio
      • see Tetanus (only 2nd refresher)
    • Hepatitis B
      • see Tetanus (without refresher)
    • pneumococcal
      • see Tetanus (without refresher)
    • MMR
      • 11-14 months (1st vaccination)
      • 15-23 months (2nd vaccination)
    • chickenpox
      • 11-14 months (1st vaccination)
      • (possibly 15-23 months (2nd vaccination) )

    So, this calendar is meant to be a guide only and by no means an ulitimative solution. Special situation require other vaccination procedures. For example, if a child has an HIV infection, as is very common in Africa, the vaccine has to be treated individually.

    What types of vaccination are there?

    With vaccinations, a distinction must be made between a so-called passive vaccination and active vaccination / immunization.

    1. Active immunization / vaccination
      In active vaccination, attenuated pathogens are injected so that the body, in response, has its immune system make antibodies against that pathogen.
      This has the disadvantage that often several doses of the vaccine are needed for the final vaccination.
      An example of this is the hepatitis A vaccine and the hepatitis B vaccine: There are 3 vaccinations at intervals of 4 or 12 weeks . Since the pathogens occur in a weakened form, there is almost no danger of getting the actual infection. If it should come to an infection, this is usually present to a lesser extent. Unfortunately there is the possibility with vaccinations of vaccine damage. About this risk, the patient or his parents is informed before vaccination!
    2. Passive immunization / vaccination
      In the case of passive vaccination, the principle is different: Here the patient is injected with the already formed antibodies ( immunoglobulins ), ie the antibodies against a disease. If the person now comes into contact with a patient (for example, chickenpox ), the immunized system of the vaccinated already has the antibodies to immediately " flare " the pathogens. In this type of vaccination, the result is usually shorter than that of active vaccination. The advantage of this vaccine, however, is that this type of vaccine is very good for short-term vaccinations (for example, before traveling) can be applied. This not only affects children, but also in adulthood, you should take care of the required or recommended vaccinations before any stay abroad, which is outside of Europe.

    To save the children several vaccinations, there are so-called combination vaccines that protect against multiple diseases simultaneously. (Example: six- vaccination : tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio , hepatitis A and B and Hib (Haemophilus influenza b )).
    Since the pathogens obtained in the vaccines, despite their attenuated form, require the body's defense system, the child should not be seriously ill. Minor infections, such as runny nose, contrary to popular belief have no impact on the vaccine success.

    What is a live vaccine?

    In a live vaccination, the vaccine contains a small amount of live pathogens. However, the pathogens are so attenuated that an outbreak of the disease is extremely unlikely. The immune system recognizes the pathogen as foreign to the body and can produce antibodies against it.
    When you re-contact the immune system is prepared and it does not come to the onset of the disease.
    Live vaccinations include:

    • Measles,
    • mumps
    • and rubella. I

    In rare cases, the pathogens in the vaccine can cause a mild vaccine disease, for example the so-called vaccine. A non-communicable rash similar to the measles rash may appear a few weeks after vaccination. People with immunodeficiencies are generally not allowed to receive live vaccinations.

    What is a vaccination?

    In a total vaccination vaccine contains only killed pathogens or even only components of the pathogen, for example, parts of the shell or capsule. These are sufficient for the immune system to produce antibodies that protect against the particular disease. Much of the vaccines available on the market are among the dead vaccines; including the six-fold vaccine against poliomyelitis, whooping cough, diphtheria, hemophilus influeza type B, hepatitis B and tetanus.

    Side effects of vaccinations

    Pain after vaccination

    The pain after vaccination is one of the common and natural vaccine reactions.
    The vaccine is administered to the muscle with a needle. This causes irritation of the muscle and the surrounding tissue. The pain is worsened when the muscle is tense during the injection, as it makes it difficult to penetrate the needle into the muscle and thus more pressure must be applied.

    The pain after a vaccination usually appears like sore muscles at the injection site. This pain should subside after one to two days, in case of severe pain the puncture site should be cooled.

    If the pain gets worse, or if the puncture site swells, is reddened or overheated, a doctor should be consulted. This could be an infection of the puncture site.

    Fever after vaccination

    The fever that can develop after vaccination is also one of the possible vaccination reactions that can occur after vaccination. In addition to fever, injection site redness, and muscle pain (as opposed to sore muscles), these vaccine reactions also include flu-like symptoms. Normally, these reactions occur within 72 hours of vaccination and should not last longer than 1-2 days.
    If the fever persists for several days, the injection site is swollen and overheated, or there is a severe feeling of illness, a doctor should be consulted.

    For details, see: Side Effects from Vaccination

    These vaccine reactions are the result of an immune response to the vaccine needed to obtain vaccine protection.
    Most vaccines produce antibodies against the administered vaccine, which are essential for immunity to the vaccinated disease. If pathogens enter the body after a successful initial vaccination (depending on the vaccine after a few doses), these are recognized by the previously formed antibodies and eliminated immediately. So it does not come to the outbreak of the disease.

    As a home remedy to reduce the fever, cold calf rolls are available. It is important to always ensure adequate hydration. However, if the temperature increases despite calf wrapping, a drug therapy to reduce the fever should be started. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are available here. Aspirin also has an antipyretic effect, but aspirin must not be used in children.

    What are vaccine damages?

    Damage caused by a vaccine is a serious or sometimes permanent health damage that goes beyond the normal vaccine response - fever fatigue, pain at and around the puncture site - as a result of vaccination. Important in case of vaccine damage is whether the vaccine is recommended by the STIKO (permanent vaccination committee). Fortunately, serious damage from vaccination is rare on the whole, but should be reported to the health care office immediately. They may also occur weeks, months, or years after vaccination.

    There are recognized vaccine damages for certain vaccinations. Here are a few examples:

    • For all vaccines, reactions such as febrile convulsions and allergic reactions are recognized.
    • Tetanus diphtheria: Guillain-Barré syndrome (damage to the peripheral nerves)
    • Mumps - measles - rubella: red blood cell reduction
    • Whooping cough: meningitis
    • Influenza: Guillain-Barré syndrome

    Of course, before a vaccine is approved, its safety is checked against standardized procedures by European and national regulatory authorities.

    Clearly distinguish from the vaccine damage are the vaccine reactions. These often occur after vaccination, but are safe and also return rapidly ( usually within 2 days ). After all, the vaccine in the body should cause a reaction. This reaction then manifests itself in the so-called response of the vaccine, which can vary from child to child or may be weak. These include, for example:

    • Redness of the puncture site
    • Pain at the injection site
    • Fever (rarely)

    For more information on side effects after vaccinations, see: Side Effects from Baby Vaccination or Vaccine Side Effects

    When can not or should not be vaccinated?

    If your child is seriously ill, you should spare him further suffering and not vaccinate. The already weakened immune system might be overwhelmed.

    Unfortunately, it is often the case that children who can not be vaccinated because of their health are exactly those children who need a vaccine. This affects especially children with immune deficiencies.

    Vaccination with a live vaccine should not be performed if:

    • the child suffers from a serious immune deficiency (B or T cell defect)
    • her child has previously received blood transfusions
    • You are pregnant and can be switched to an alternative pregnancy ( If you want to know more about medicines in pregnancy, read our topic: Medicines during pregnancy)
    • The vaccine has ever caused an allergic reaction in your child

    In adults, the immune system at the time of vaccination should not already be pre-immune to an infection or other disease. Also, some vaccines do not work when taking antibiotics at the same time.

    Which situations are vaccine-specifically harmless?

    Contrary to popular belief among many parents who are very concerned about vaccines, the child can be vaccinated if it has a cold. Here are some more situations in which the parents worry mostly for no reason:

    • mild cold or diarrhea
    • Premature birth: they need the protection against potentially dangerous diseases a fortiori
    • Even if you breast-feed your child (see Breastfeeding), a vaccination can be carried out and is in no way "superfluous"
    • Allergies of the child
    • Congenital heart defects: these children also need the vaccine especially urgently, so as not to unnecessarily burden the already damaged heart with a disease

    All the circumstances mentioned above, and many more, in no way limit your child's ability to vaccinate.

    The Importance of Childhood Vaccinations | UPMC (February 2020).

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