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Immunization: Call for the Day Immunization: Call for the Day

Delivering useful and safe vaccines through a well-organized delivery system is one of the most important public health endeavors. Immunization programs aim to reduce mortality due to vaccine preventable diseases, particularly for children.
 
But the question is why immunizing our kids? Sometimes we are perplexed by the messages in the media. First we are assured that, thanks to vaccines, some diseases are almost gone. But at the same time, we are also warned to immunize our progeny, ourselves, and our elderly people. Why? So, it is quite rational to ask whether it′s really significant to keep vaccinating.
 
What would happen if we stop vaccinating here? Ailments that are almost unknown now, would reappear. Before long we would see epidemics of diseases that are nearly under control today. More children would get sick and more would die. Actually, we don′t vaccinate just to protect our children. We also vaccinate to protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Our children don′t have to get smallpox injections any more because the disease no longer exists. If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won′t infect or kill children. Vaccinations are one of the greatest ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases.
 

Recommended Vaccines:

 

Hepatitis B Vaccine:

  1. First dose at birth to 2 months
  2. Second dose at 1 to 4 months
  3. Third dose at 6 to 18 months

DPT Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 2 months
  2. Second dose at 4 months
  3. Third dose at 6 months
  4. Fourth dose at 15 to 18 months
  5. Fifth dose at 4 to 6 years

Polio Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 2 months
  2. Second dose at 4 months
  3. Third dose at 6 to 18 months
  4. Fourth dose at 4 to 6 years

Pneumococcal Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 2 months
  2. Second dose at 4 months
  3. Third dose at 6 months
  4. Fourth dose at 12 to 18 months

Hib Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 2 months
  2. Second dose at 4 months
  3. Third dose at 6 months
  4. Fourth dose at 12 to 15 months

Rotavirus Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 2 months
  2. Second dose at 4 months
  3. Third dose at 6 months

Hepatitis A Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 12 months
  2. Second dose at 18 months

Influenza Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 6 months (requires a booster one month after initial vaccine)
  2. Annually until 5 years (then yearly if indicated or desired, according to risks)

MMR Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 12 to 15 months
  2. Second dose at 4 to 6 years

Varicella Vaccine:

  1. First dose at 12 to 15 months
  2. Second dose at 4 to 6 years

Meningococcal Vaccine:

  1. Single dose at 11 years
 
Each child is born with a full immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids that are located all through the body to fight invading bacteria or viruses. The immune system recognizes microorganisms that enter the body as foreign invaders and produces protein substances called “antibodies” to fight them. A normal, healthy immune system has the capability to produce millions of these antibodies to shield against thousands of attacks every day, doing it so naturally that people are not even aware they are being attacked and defended so often. Many antibodies disappear once they have destroyed the invading elements (called the antigens), but the cells involved in antibody production stay behind and become "memory cells." Memory cells remember the original antigen and then defend against it when the antigen attempts to re-infect a person, even after many decades.
 
Vaccines contain the same antigens or parts of antigens that cause diseases, but the antigens in vaccines are greatly weakened. Once injected into the muscle, vaccine antigens are not tough enough to produce the signs of the disease but are strong enough for the immune system to produce antibodies against them. The memory cells that stayed behind prevent re-infection when they encounter that disease in the future. Therefore, through vaccination, children develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases.
 
If a child is not vaccinated and is exposed to a disease virus, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the virus or bacteria. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same viruses exist today also, but children are now protected by vaccines, so we do not see these diseases much often.
 
Only very few infants and children develop side effects after a vaccination. After the D.P.T. injection, the infant may have pain at the site of the injection and may even develop fever. In that case the baby may be given 1/2 a tsp. of paracetamol. After the measles injection, measles like rashes may appear but these are normal. Very rarely, children can have allergic reactions straight after immunization.
 
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