Child Health Immunization

Babies are born with protection against certain diseases because antibodies from their mothers were passed to them through the placenta. After birth, breastfed babies get the continued benefits of additional antibodies in breast milk. But in both cases, the protection is temporary.

Immunization (vaccination) is a way of creating immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of a killed or weakened microorganism that causes the particular disease.

Microorganisms can be viruses (such as the measles virus) or they can be bacteria (such as pneumococcus). Vaccines stimulate the immune system to react as if there were a real infection it fends off the "infection" and remembers the organism so that it can fight it quickly should it enter the body later.

Types of Vaccines
There are a few different types of vaccines.
  • Attenuated (weakened) live viruses are used in some vaccines such as in the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • Killed (inactivated) viruses or bacteria are used in some vaccines, such as in IPV.
  • Toxoid vaccines contain an inactivated toxin produced by the bacterium. For example, the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines are toxoid vaccines.
  • Conjugate vaccines (such as Hib) contain parts of bacteria combined with proteins.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids get combination vaccines (rather than single vaccines) whenever possible. Many vaccines are offered in combination to help reduce the number of shots a child receives.
There may be different immunization schedules for each country. But Immunizations must be given as they protect against diseases or make a disease less severe if your child does get it. Doctor may suggest what you child need. It is important to keep accurate records of immunizations, including any reactions to the vaccines.

Common Immunization

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP): This shot (immunization) protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib): This shot protects against bacteria that can cause an infection in the lungs (pneumonia) or the covering of the brain (meningitis), skin and bone infections, and other serious illnesses in young children.
  • Hepatitis A (Hep A) : This shot protects against hepatitis A disease.
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B): This shot protects against hepatitis B disease.
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) : This shot protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • Pneumococcal infections ( PCV13, or Prevnar13): This shot protects against a bacteria that causes meningitis, blood infections (sepsis), and ear infections.
  • Polio : This shot protects against polio.
  • Rotavirus (Rotarix or RotaTeq) :This immunization protects against rotavirus infection, which causes severe diarrhea.
  • Meningococcal conjugate : This shot protects against a bacteria that causes meningitis and blood infections (sepsis).
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV, or Pneumovax 23) : This shot does not necessarily reduce the risk of getting pneumonia. But it can prevent some of the serious complications of pneumonia, such as blood infections (sepsis).
Combination Vaccines

Combination vaccines are usually preferred to separate shots because they reduce the number of needle pricks. Examples include:
  • Comvax (Hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Kinrix (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio)
  • MenHibrix (Meningococcal/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Pediarix (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio/Hepatitis B)
  • Pentacel (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • TriHIBit (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Haemophilus influenzae type b)

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