Knowing your Vaccines

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Vaccinations a lot of parents are unfamiliar with several diseases that ravaged children in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Diseases such as small-pox, Diphtheria, Whooping cough, yellow fever and Rubella (German measles) were very commonplace before the introduction of vaccines. These diseases were responsible for thousands of deaths but today largely due to vaccines, they are all but forgotten.

Although there has been some negative press surrounding vaccination use, most of the myths are unfounded. Vaccinations have been proven to be effective and safe with little or none complications arising. (Read our previous article)

A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. Vaccines are prepared using an agent which resembles a disease-causing microorganism which is often created from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxin or one of its surface proteins.

Vaccines create the effect of a particular disease allowing the recipient’s immune system create antigens which then protect against the disease. Because a harmless or weakened version has been used in inoculation, the body simply gets rids of this version but retains an imprint which is used to fight the virulent versions. Once a person’s immune system is trained to resist a disease, the person becomes immune to that disease.

Vaccines have become a regular staple in the prevention of diseases especially in babies and young children. It is now expected and advised after childbirth to ensure vaccinations of a new-born at different intervals in life.

Common Vaccines are given to Infants:
  • Hep B
  • DTP (Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough {pertussis})
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b)
  • IPV (polio)
  • Rotavirus (RV)
  • Pneumococcal (PCV, PPSV)
  • Influenza

The above vaccines are started in infancy with 2-4 doses for most expected to be completed at 12-15months of age

  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

2 doses are given; the first dose is 12-15 months and the second at 4-6 years.

  • Hep A

2 doses given; the first dose is given at 1 year and the second 6-12 months later.

  • Meningococcal

Infants and children age 0 – 10 years

  • Chickenpox

2 doses; first dose is 12-15 months and the second at 4-6years.

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