FAQ on Vitamin-A

No. Vitamin A is not a vaccine. It is a micronutrient required by body for growth and development. It also helps in maintaining immunity and supports good vision.

Night blindness is the first sign of Vitamin A deficiency, and in this condition affected children have poor vision in darkness but can see normally when adequate light is present. There are other signs which can be detected by medical officer at any health facility.

Total 9 prophylactic doses of Vitamin A are given to children. First dose is given along with measles vaccine at 9 months (completed), second dose with measles at 16-24 months, and 3rd to 9th dose biannually till the age of 5 years. Minimum difference of 6 months must be ensured between any two subsequent doses of vitamin A. First dose of vitamin A syrup is 1 ml or 1,00,000 IU (half spoon), and second to ninth dose is 2 ml or 2,00,000 IU (full spoon).

Vitamin A is available as syrup in dark coloured bottles. The syrup should be given with spoon (having dose markings) provided with the bottle.

Yes. Vitamin A can be given along with other orally administered vaccines, like OPV and Rotavirus Vaccine. However, they should not be mixed.

Take the following precautions while using and administering vitamin A. These are:

  • Vitamin A bottle once opened should be used within 8 weeks. Therefore, date of opening a bottle should be clearly mentioned on its label.
  • Bottles should be kept away from direct sunlight.
  • Vitamin A syrup must only be administered with spoon (having dose markings) provided with the bottle.
  • Expiry date and date of opening the bottle should be checked before administration.

In children having clinical signs of Vitamin A deficiency, it is recommended to administer 200,000 IU (2 ml) of Vitamin A immediately after diagnosis, followed by another dose of 200,000 IU (2 ml), 1-4 weeks later.

Vitamin A supplementation is recommended for children who are infected during the measles outbreak. This markedly reduces measles associated mortality among the affected children. Utilization of Vitamin A is impaired during measles infection, irrespective of the total body stores of the vitamin. Vitamin A should be given to all measles cases, irrespective of whether it has previously been administered prophylactically or given as routine immunization.