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National Immunization Schedule of India - The Reasons to Be Followed

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Immunization is a verified tool for the prevention and eradication of life-threatening diseases. The government provides free vaccinations for several diseases.

Written by

Dr. Shuchi Jain

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Published At November 1, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024


Immunization is one of the most cost-effective, easy-to-reach, and proven strategies for preventing several infectious diseases. It is evaluated that every year two-three million deaths are prevented through vaccination. It has a target group and is delivered through outreach activities. One such program for making India polio-free by February 2014 is with the tagline - Do boond zindagi ke.

What Are Vaccination and Immunization?

Both terms coincide with each other.

  • The process of administering a vaccine to enhance the immunity of the individual against a disease is called vaccination.

  • Immunization is a process by which a person is made immune to infectious diseases by the administration of the vaccine.

When a person receives a vaccination, they are considered to be immune and the vaccine protects the body from a specific disease. Immunization trains our immune system to fight against certain diseases if we come in contact with them in the future.

What Are a Vaccine and a Booster Dose?

A vaccine is a biological preparation that contains an agent resembling a disease-causing microorganism. It is prepared from weakened or killed microbes. It stimulates the body’s immune system to protect against infections or diseases. The vaccine helps in building immunity and protection against the infection or may help in reducing the effect of the virus.

Booster Dose: It is a supplementary dose given after a primary vaccination series. It strengthens the existing antigens (which were introduced into the body through primary doses) from time to time.

What Is the Right Age for Vaccination?

Babies get some natural immunity from their mothers through breastfeeding. This is short-term immunity, and it wears off with the development of their immune system.

The schedule instructs the following.

  • A baby should begin receiving vaccines around one and a half months (45 days old).
  • Even if there is some delay in vaccinations, they should still receive all the vaccinations.
  • Never keep a baby deprived of vaccinations.

  • Full immunization should be completed before the age of one year.

Are There Any Side Effects of Vaccination?

There are very few side effects to acquiring some. The most common among them is

  • Pain at the site of infection.

  • Fever after vaccination.

  • Rashes (after measles injection).

  • Other allergic reactions.

If a child develops a high-grade fever or loses consciousness, one should immediately consult a doctor.

What Is a Vaccine Schedule?

A vaccine schedule is a list containing all recommended vaccines, their dosage, timing, and frequency of administration released by the government. Following a vaccination schedule is essential. Various government campaigns encourage people to follow the correct schedules for protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. The recent one is the COVID vaccination.

The government schedules this vaccination by taking help from a group of doctors and approves it after detailed research.

What Is the Aim of the Vaccination Schedule?

If we are unaware of the vaccination schedule, either we will miss some, or we will constantly visit a doctor. Thus to reduce the number of interactions with the healthcare providers, the government created a schedule.

What Are the Various Immunization Schedules Followed in India?

In India, we follow two vaccination schedules mainly.

They are,

  1. National Immunization Schedule (NIS),

  2. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics Immunization Schedule (IAP).

Let us have a look at both these schedules and understand their differences.

The National Immunization Schedule (NIS) issued a list of all the necessary vaccines recommended by the government. They are administered free of cost throughout the country at any government healthcare center.

List of Vaccines Scheduled in India (2022) Is

  1. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine.

  2. Hepatitis B.

  3. Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) -0,1,2,3.

  4. Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV).

  5. Pentavalent 1,2,3.

  6. Rotavirus.

  7. Measles.

  8. Vitamin A.

  9. Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT).

  10. Tetanus Toxoid (TT).

The second schedule is IAP. It includes all the recommended schedules as well as a few others.

They are available at private hospitals and are chargeable.

The list of additional vaccines includes,

  1. Meningococcal Vaccine.

  2. Japanese Encephalitis (JE) Vaccine.

  3. Cholera.

  4. Rabies.

  5. Yellow Fever.

  6. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV 23).

The schedule is as follows:

List of Vaccines Scheduled in India (2022) Is

Why Follow the Immunization Schedule?

1) Ideal Timing:

  • The immunization schedule is safe and effective.

  • Different vaccines have different timings based on the immune response.

  • To aid protection in kids, they are vaccinated timely to protect them from various diseases.

2) Prevent Serious Complications:

  • Delaying vaccines might lead to serious complications, especially in kids.

  • Vaccines are like helmets (safety equipment) that protects from serious head injuries. Newborns are at greater risk of developing several diseases.

  • One such example is- Whooping cough. It can be life-threatening for babies less than one-year-old. Thus delaying vaccinations can lead to serious harm.

3) Protection:

  • It is best to get vaccinated before any dangerous disease approaches us.

  • The recent example of the COVID-19 pandemic is the best example of this.

  • If you think that you'll take the vaccine - only at the time a disease is contracted, it may not give enough time for the vaccine to work.

  • That's why a schedule is created to provide early immunity before exposure to life-threatening diseases.

  • Maternal antibodies and breastfeeding provide very little protection for a short duration.

  • As the child develops, so does the immune system. As the immune system develops, it has to fight diseases on its own. To do so, vaccines are required. That's why it is necessary to follow the immunization schedule, as it provides long-term immunity and helps in the prevention of various diseases by strengthening the immune system.

4) Boost Immunity:

  • Each vaccine is produced very carefully to protect against distinct illnesses.

  • Some require more than the primary dose or booster dose to boost immunity which decreases over time.

  • Additional doses are suggested to ensure that - enough antibodies are there in the body for overall protection.

  • For example - a flu vaccine should be administered yearly. COVID vaccine has two primary doses along with booster doses.

5) Spreading Illness:

  • People who missed their vaccine are at risk of getting sick and spreading illness. Even a non-vaccinated child can do so.

  • To prevent the spread of disease, one has to follow proper vaccination schedules and get vaccinated.

  • By getting the vaccinations on time, you are protecting your family, friends, and society, thereby contributing to the eradication of infectious diseases.


Vaccinations are vital for building immunity right from birth. Being a parent, one should keep tracking the vaccination schedule. Never delay or miss the vaccinations. Vaccinations are for your good. They protect you and provide you immunity against serious diseases. It might take time for a vaccine to work, but it promises to safeguard you. Some may require multiple doses and booster doses. Vaccinations help in the prevention of disease spread. Vaccinate yourself and protect society.

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham



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