Why it is important for children to receive all the required vaccines for their age

Nathaniel and his playmates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control or CDC, an estimated two million five hundred thousand deaths of children five years old and below were prevented by vaccines worldwide in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Immunization is the best preventive measure for people from contracting diseases and their complications. Many diseases of today are vaccine-preventable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) created the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in the year nineteen seventy-six. One of its aims is to provide universal access to relevant vaccines for all at risk, by which to include adolescents, older children, and adults. The concept known as “immunization” really helped in the reduction of worldwide deaths due to communicable diseases.

 Actually, children are not the only ones to benefit a lot from vaccination. It must include, as well, adults (by which to include the elderly), adolescents, and even parents regardless of age. Necessary vaccines must be given to some adult people, especially such as those against the flu, HPV, Hepatitis B, Varicella, Influenza, MMR, DPT, and Pneumococcal disease due to the fact that these diseases could affect anyone.

For those who still had no idea what it’s all about and how does it work, well, here’s a brief review. There are two types of vaccines: the live attenuated and the inactivated. Live attenuated vaccines are actually live bacteria or viruses that are modified or weakened so as to trigger an immune response similar to being infected by the real organism. While the inactivated vaccine, on the other hand, is one that undergoes chemical or thermal exposure so as to aid in deriving components needed to cause an immune response in the person being injected with it.

It is not advisable to inject live attenuated vaccines to individuals whose immune systems are weak as this may only make the situation worse. But they are advised to receive the inactivated version, instead. Although it is not as potent as the live vaccine, periodic administration or booster shots are needed so as to provide long-lasting immunity.

When vaccines are first introduced, millions have been spared from contagious diseases. Yet there are still quite a many of those who were not convinced of the cost-effectiveness of this type of prevention in contrast to how much one would actually be spending when getting treated for the disease. If people still are not convinced of the importance of preventive measures (also known by such a term as “prophylaxis”), then maybe they must consider studying how communicable diseases were affecting millions worldwide as compared when vaccines were already available.

In a world without vaccines, devastating outbreaks of small pox, polio and measles were common occurrences leading to deaths the world over, causing pandemics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Scientists worked hard in finding ways to actually prevent these deadly diseases. Yet only the small pox vaccine was developed during the eighteenth century. It was not until the later part of the 1900s that the first-ever vaccine laboratory was built. It was during that particular time also that more virus-caused diseases emerged.

Here’s a list of vaccines recommended in the EPI based on the child’s age:

When it should be given? What vaccines should be given? How many doses should be given?
Birth to before two weeks of age Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) One dose
  Hepatitis B First dose
Four weeks to six months of age Hepatitis B Second and third doses, at least four weeks apart
  DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) Firs dose: two months

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six months

  Oral Polio Vaccine/Inactivated Polio Vaccine First dose: six to eight weeks

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six to eighteen months

  Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib) First dose: two months

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six months

  Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) First dose: two months

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six months

  Rotavirus vaccine Number of doses depends on types of vaccine but should be given between two to six months.
  Influenza vaccine Given yearly starting six months onwards
Nine months Measles First dose: nine months

Second dose: fifteen to eighteen months

Twelve months onwards Hepatitis A Two doses at twelve to twenty three months, six to eighteen months apart
  DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) Booster doses at fifteen to eighteen weeks and four to six years
  Varicella (Chicken pox) First dose: twelve to fifteen months

Second dose: four to six years

  Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) First dose: twelve to forty-seven months

Second dose: fifteen months to twelve years

  Tetanus vaccine Booster dose should be given every ten years or five years if at high risk
  Typhoid vaccine First dose: two years old

Booster every two to three years

  Meningococcal vaccine Given at least two years old for those at high risk
  Human Papilloma Virus vaccine First dose at eleven to twelve years old, with next two doses after one to two months and six months after the first dose.
  Rabies vaccine Should be given in areas with high incidence of rabies at zero, seven, twenty-one, and twenty-eight days.


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