Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. Over the years Immunization remains a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations.
It’s much easier and more cost-effective to prevent a disease than to treat it. That’s exactly what immunizations aim to do. Over the year’s immunizations have thwarted epidemics of once-common infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough. And because of immunizations, we’ve seen the near eradication of others, such as polio and smallpox.
Some vaccines need to be given only once; others require updates or “boosters” to maintain successful immunization and continued protection against disease.
The list of immunization recommended for children 0-6 years of age include:
- DPT against The Pentavalent vaccine (a combination of DPT, Hepatitis B (Hep B) and Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib) is also given.
- Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
- Measles, mumps, rubella
- Varicella (chickenpox available privately)
- Hepatitis A
At one time or another, each of the diseases addressed by these vaccines posed a serious health threat to children, taking their lives by the thousands; today most of these diseases are at their lowest levels in decades, thanks to immunizations.
It’s important to keep your child’s immunizations on schedule and up to date, but if your child misses a scheduled dose he or she can “catch up” later.
Because proof of immunization is often a prerequisite for enrollment in school or daycare, it’s important to keep your children up to date on their vaccines. The benefit of doing so is that your children will be protected from diseases that could cause them serious health problems.
The service is available free at health clinics and hospitals, and for a charge at private doctors.
Parents you have a responsibility! Ensure your child is fully immunized.