The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that vaccinations be given for diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B, measles, polio and a host of other diseases. Vaccinations are the best way to protect children from a range of dangerous diseases.
Children are constantly vulnerable to threats from different diseases that are spread through various means. In infancy, breast milk helps protect against a number of diseases, but once they grow up, vaccinations are the most successful method in providing the means to protect them. Vaccinations start at birth, as a child’s immunity is not yet able to fight serious diseases like whooping cough (Pertussis) and pneumococcal disease. These diseases can be very serious, and even fatal in some cases. Vaccinations basically protect the immune system from falling victim to disease by immunizing it. Given below is s list of vaccines with the diseases they are meant for:
- IPV is given to prevent polio, at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, followed by a dose each at ages 4, 5 and 6. The poliovirus causes an infectious disease called polio. The virus invades the brain and spinal cord causing paralysis.
- HepA vaccine is given for hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease and is spread by person-to-person contact and by contaminated food and water. Two doses are given to children, one during their second year, and the second 6–18 months after the first.
- Hepb vaccine is for hepatitis B. This disease also affects the liver and spread through bodily fluids. It is a deadly disease, so the doses recommended are at birth, at 1–2 months, and again at 6 months.
- DTaP vaccine is used to eliminate the risk of three diseases; namely Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (whooping cough). Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the nose and throat, leading to breathing problems, paralysis, and heart failure. Tetanus is picked up through wounds caused by metal and causes lockjaw and muscle stiffness. Pertussis is the cause of violent, uncontrollable coughing and is highly deadly for babies. The DTaP vaccination should be given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and between 12–15 months.
- Hib vaccine is taken for Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b). This disease causes hearing loss, brain damage and is sometimes fatal. Hib vaccine is given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and between 12–15 months.
- MMR vaccine is prescribed to tackle three diseases; mumps, measles, and rubella. Mumps causes swollen cheeks and jaws while measles causes a rash, cold-like symptoms, inflamed eyes, and fever. Rubella, otherwise known as German measles, causes a rash and a low fever. This vaccine is to be given between 12–15 months, and between 4–6 years.
- RV vaccine is taken against the rotavirus disease that causes dehydration and severe diarrhea. Three doses are given at 2, 4 and 6 months.
- PCV13 vaccine is prescribed against a pneumococcal disease that is dangerous and causes meningitis and blood infection. The vaccine is given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and between 12–15 months.
- Varicella vaccine is for chickenpox. Chickenpox causes infected blisters, pneumonia, bleeding disorders, and encephalitis. The varicella vaccine for chickenpox is prescribed between 12–15 months, and between 4–6 years.
- The flu vaccine is taken against influenza (Flu). Flu causes pneumonia and infections in the nose, throat, and lungs. It is essential to take the vaccine annually starting at 6 months through to 8 years.