Intervention 5: Full Immunisation for Age

       

 Full Immunization for Age

Many infectious diseases that kill millions of children are easily preventable through timely immunisation. Children must be immunised early in life, starting from the first week after birth and with completion of the full schedule before the first birthday. The effects of immunisations are maximised if given at specific ages, meaning that proper scheduling and complete doses are critical. Nevertheless, if a child has not been fully immunised by his/her first birthday, it is extremely important to follow through with the immunisations as soon as possible. It is safe to immunise children with minor illnesses or disabilities and those suffering from moderate malnutrition.

WHO has developed standard immunisation schedules for Tb, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles. In all countries, however, national protocols must be followed. 7-11 programming intensifies awareness-raising around immunisation and uses every opportunity to increase immunisation coverage among one-year olds. It is also important to trace drop-outs and unimmunised children.

Definitions:

  • Many infectious diseases that kill millions of children are easily preventable through timely immunisation. Children must be immunized early in life, starting from the first week after birth and with completion of the full schedule before the first birthday. The effects of immunisations are maximised if given at specific ages, meaning that proper scheduling and complete doses are critical. The 7-11 programming intensifies awareness-raising around immunisation and uses every opportunity to increase immunisation coverage among one-year olds. It is also importnat to trace drop-outs and unimmunised children.

Target Behaviours/Results:

  • Every children receive the full basic schedule of vaccines before the first birthday following the national health standards of the Expanded Program on Immunisation
  • Every caregiver of children under 24 months should have a vaccine record card

Questions:

Why is it important for children to be vaccinated? 

Immunization, also known as vaccination, is a healthy choice that saves lives. Vaccines have saved the lives of more babies and children than any other medical activity in the last 50 years.  When children are immunized, they are protected against illnesses and serious harm, to include meningitis, pneumonia, paralysis, deafness, seizures, brain damage or even death. For effective disease control, 95% immunisation coverage in the population is needed. This means that for every 100 people in a community, if 95 or more are immunized for a particular disease there is very little chance of seeing that disease in the community.

How do vaccines work? 

The vaccines are made of either weakened or "killed" versions of the bacteria or virus that causes a particular disease. When these altered viruses and bacteria are injected or taken by mouth, the body’s immune system starts an attack that causes the body to produce antibodies against the disease. We can think of the immune system as like soldiers, and antibodies like defences or a wall that the soldiers put up against the disease. 

Are vaccines safe? 

Vaccines are generally quite safe. The protection provided by vaccines far outweighs the very small risk of serious problems. Vaccines must pass many safety tests before they are ever given to people. After a vaccine is approved for use, its safety is always monitored.  It’s much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease. Serious side effects from vaccines are very rare. 

Do vaccines have side effects? 

Some vaccines may cause mild temporary side effects such as fever, or soreness or a lump under the skin where the shot was given. The health care provider should talk to parents about possible side effects with certain vaccines. 

When should the child be vaccinated? 

The WHO has developed standard immunization schedule for children, and each country follows it according to their specific context and public health policy. You can find out what the immunization schedule is for your country.

To be fully protected, the child will be immunized starting at birth, then at 2 months of age, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months. Some immunizations require more than one dose for full protection.  The basic immunization schedule according to the WHO should be reached when a child is 12 months old, and boosters of some vaccines are required when the age of the child is between 4 to 6 years old.  Nevertheless, if a child has not been fully immunised by his/her first birthday, it is extremely important to follow through with the immunisations as soon as possible. 

Can my child be vaccinated when he or she is sick? 

It is safe to immunise children with minor illnesses or disabilities and those suffering from moderate malnutrition. In all countries, however, national protocols must be followed.

Are there any reasons a child should not be vaccinated?  

In general, every child should be vaccinated. There may be some special and rare situations when a child shouldn't be vaccinated. For example, some vaccines shouldn't be given to children who have certain types of cancer or certain diseases, or who are taking drugs that lower the body's ability to resist infection. 

What diseases do immunizations prevent? 

Depending on the standard immunization schedule at each country, a vaccinated child is protected against diseases such as: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, childhood tuberculosis meningitis, disseminated tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal disease, Pneumococcal disease, Mumps and Rubella.

Why is it important to keep a vaccine record card?  

Without a record or proof of having had a disease the child is considered unimmunized and unprotected.

The caregivers of a child must keep a vaccination record card. and take the vaccination card to the health centre when taking the child there. Additionally, the caregivers should make sure the health care provider completes the vaccination record card when the child is immunized. The vaccine record card may be needed later on to register the child for school or other things depending on each country policies.

 

7-11 HEALTH STRATEGY

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