I remember the time when I was expecting my baby. Both I and my husband were very excited, the emotions of happiness and joy were flooding our hearts. Our lives were full of hopes and we were eagerly waiting for our precious bundle of joy. From day one, we wanted nothing but the best for our child, in every way. Whether it was his clothing, medicines or vaccines.
Speaking of vaccines, we all know that complete and comprehensive vaccination is the best safeguard that we can offer our children against life-altering, fatal diseases.
Although a well-planned vaccination schedule is given by every pediatrician, there are some vaccines which are equally important, but they are not included in that schedule. One such vaccine is Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV) or meningococcal vaccine.
MCV is a vaccine formulated for meningococcal meningitis, which is a severe and devastating disease. This vaccine is an important one and needs to be administered to the child timely, to prevent bacterial meningitis. It offers protection against three types of critical meningitis.
What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is a contagious disease that spreads through contact with contaminated respiratory or throat secretions like spit or saliva through coughing, kissing or sharing the same food. Meningitis, or brain fever as it’s commonly known, results due to inflammation in the protective layer around the brain and spinal cord. It can also happen when there is an infection in the fluid present inside the brain and spinal cord area.
Some Facts About Meningococcal Meningitis (MM):
This is a serious disease in which one out of every five cases involve serious complications and may prove to be fatal. The disease is tough to diagnose as it is rare, and its initial symptoms can be easily confused for the symptoms of normal viral fever. Even if an individual survives this illness, they are left with disabilities like brain damage or deafness.
Its symptoms are sudden high fever, pain in joints, headache, drowsiness, vomiting, etc. It can prove fatal to the affected child in less than 24-48 hrs. Children are likely to get infected in public places like schools, parks, picnic spots, etc.
Protect Your Child From Meningitis With MCV Vaccine:
MCV or the Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects the child from the bacterium that causes meningococcal meningitis. While PCV (Pneumococcal Vaccine) and HiB vaccine are mandatory for your infants as per the Government of India’s mandate and are a part of the National Immunization Program, but MCV is optional. This is due to the low occurrence of the disease and thus, parents usually miss out on this vaccine. However, it is vital to get your child vaccinated with it so that he/she stays safe from this acute condition. People are not very aware of the threat of this disease, but they must be educated about it so that they can ensure timely administration of the vaccine to their children. In order to get this vaccine, the child should be above 9 months and below 2.5 years and the doses must be given after proper consultation with a pediatrician.
Who Requires The Vaccine?
Children below the age of 3 years need to be vaccinated against this deadly and fatal disease. There has been an increasing incidence of this disease in our country. In 2016, 146 people in our country died due to this acute disease.
Ability Of The Vaccine:
Presently meningococcal conjugate vaccine is available only in India and it is the only vaccine that is approved to be used on children above the age of 9 months. At this age, the child is more likely to catch the disease as his/her immunity has not yet developed.
If you’re a new parent, you should think about getting your child vaccinated with MCV to keep him secure from deadly meningitis.
Author: Pallavi Gunni
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of a public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child’s health should be done after consultation with your doctor. Read my full disclosure here. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields mean the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. Healthwealthbridge, the blog or the author should be in no way held responsible in that case. Written after consultation and discussion with Dr. Abhijit Misra (MD Pediatrician – Healthwealthbridge board of advisors)