A few lovely folks have been leaving private messages on Facebook asking about the difference in vaccination schedules- India versus Qatar.
I personally had some trouble early on, when I came home for a vacation in April. Lil Z was 6 weeks old. She would remain here for over a month, and would miss getting her 8 week shots at Qatar.
In India, the first set of vaccinations (after the ones given at birth) are given at around 6 weeks. But in Qatar, they are administered at two months (eight weeks).
The diseases covered are almost the same. There are some differences in brands of vaccinations used. Fortunately, most that are available there, can be bought in India. And in a way, lucky that we were in India at the time, as there were no appointment slots available at the health center that we are assigned to. We would have had to visit a private clinic/ hospital anyway.
And to all those parents who ask/ think/ wonder if one can haggle/ request/ plead/ bargain/ argue and get their vaccinations done on time at the PHCC (if you do not have an appointment)- I am sorry to inform you that IT IS JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! That is how the system works folks. Take it or leave it.
Lil Z also did not get an appointment for her four month shots. We got it done at a private hospital in Qatar.
We did manage to get into the PHCC system by seven months though- for her six month vaccines!
Getting back to business now….
So what are the differences?
For starters, let us look at the prescribed vaccination/ immunization schedules in some countries.
(Click on the individual pictures for a better view.)
These are the “basic” schedules. Additional “catch- up” schedules and other vaccines prescribed for high- risk categories are available on the source websites (check the picture captions).
Most countries tweak their vaccination programs to suit their needs, but they remain more or less identical in terms of the major diseases covered.
We decided to follow the QATAR program, since we will be here for a while. And honestly, is is very similar to the immunization program back home.
Initially, I drove myself (Mr H and his dear brother, who is for all purposes our Pediatrician :-)) crazy, obsessing over minutiae. Not any more. It is not as confusing as people make it out to be. As a doctor myself, I understand that these are merely protocols and guidelines; set in place to standardize and bring a sense of order and uniformity to matters. A week off here and there will not be harmful to your little one- do not worry!
Here are the brands of vaccines that they use at the PHCCs here… I clicked these pictures on my last visit there (Mesaimeer). Hope they help.
These are the 4 month vaccines (Administered at a private hospital in Qatar.)
We were able to find the same brands or suitable substitutes in India.
So, if you intend to travel a lot, the key is to follow one schedule and try to work around it. Hopefully, we will be in Qatar for the next vaccination drama!
Till next time… Dr J.
P.S. If you are confused with the whole DTP versus DTaP issue (you will, if you examine the schedules above closely), pm me on Facebook and I will try and explain it to you!
Also, irrespective of where Zoe received her vaccinations, I have them all entered in the vaccination card issued by Hamad. If you get the records from back home, the doctors/ nurses at the PHCC will fill them in for you. This is important as you will need to produce the vaccination record/ card at the time of admission to school here in Qatar.