Importance of Child Immunization for Protection against Disease

Every child must get a complete package of required immunizations. Early protection through immunization for children less than one year old is very important… //

..// All parents or caregivers should follow the advice of a trained health worker on when to complete the immunization schedule.

The Importance of Immunization in Children

Children should get immunized as early as possible. Getting all the required immunizations on time is very important for children, both boys and girls. Some types of vaccines require several doses to provide maximum protection. Therefore, it is very important for every child to get a complete immunization package.

The types of immunizations listed in the table below are important for protecting infants less than one year of age. This type of immunization will give very effective results if given at the right age.

Parents and health workers must follow the mandatory immunization schedule. If a child does not receive a complete immunization package before the age of one year, it is very important for the child to complete it immediately.

Booster Vaccine

In some countries, additional doses of the vaccine, known as boosters, are given after the child is over one year of age. Giving a booster to help maintain the effectiveness of the vaccine so that children can be protected longer. In Indonesia, the mandatory booster is given to elementary school children through the School Child Immunization Month (BIAS), with the following schedule:

Immunization protects against several dangerous diseases. A child who does not get immunized, tends to be easily exposed to diseases that can cause disability or death. Immunization is a way to actively induce/increase a person’s immunity to a disease, so that when he or she is exposed to the disease, he or she will not get sick or only get mild illness.

Immunization Protects Children from Disease (PD3I)

Immunization protects children against several diseases that can be prevented by immunization (PD3I). All children, including children with disabilities, must receive immunizations. A child is immunized with a vaccine that is injected or dripped by mouth.

In some countries hepatitis is still a problem. 10 out of 100 people will have hepatitis in their lifetime if they are not given the hepatitis B vaccine. Up to a quarter of children with hepatitis B can develop serious liver conditions, such as liver cancer later in life. In addition, Hepatitis B immunization must be given immediately after the baby is born to prevent transmission of the hepatitis virus from mother to child.

BCG immunization can protect children from tuberculosis. DPT immunization can prevent diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. Diphtheria causes an upper respiratory tract infection, which in some cases can cause difficulty breathing and even death. Tetanus causes muscle stiffness and muscle spasms that are painful and can result in death. Pertussis or whooping cough affects the respiratory tract and can cause a cough for up to eight weeks.

All children need to get polio immunization. The signs of polio are sudden paralysis of the limbs and it is difficult to move. Out of 200 children infected with polio, one person will be disabled for the rest of his life.

All children must get measles immunization, because measles can worsen the condition of malnourished children, poor mental development, and weakened vision and hearing. Signs of a child suffering from measles are fever and a red rash on the face, accompanied by coughing, discharge from the nose and red eyes. Children can die from measles.

Conditions in Some Countries

In many countries, pneumonia caused by pneumococcus bacteria or Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) bacteria is considered normal but can actually cause death. In addition, these bacteria can also cause meningitis and other serious infectious diseases.

These various types of bacteria are very dangerous for children under five years of age. To prevent death, children need to be given the Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine, and the pneumococcal vaccine (PCV). The pentavalent vaccine (five in one), which is combined with DPT, hepatitis B and Hib, is now increasingly being used in several countries around the world.

Vaccines for Mother and Child

Giving immunizations to women of childbearing age (WUS) at least two doses of TT before or during pregnancy, will provide protection to the mother and baby until the age of a few weeks after birth.

At two months of age, infants need their first dose of TT (the tetanus component of the DPT vaccine) to prolong the period of protection received from the mother against tetanus. In some countries where multiple vitamin A deficiencies are common, high-dose vitamin A capsules are administered every 4 – 6 months to every child aged six months to five years. Vitamin A is shared with routine immunization activities (such as measles vaccine at nine months of age) or during special campaigns. Vitamin A is also an important part of measles treatment.

Breast milk and colostrum or the yellowish condensed milk that is produced for a few days after a mother gives birth, give the baby protection against diarrhea, pneumonia, and several other diseases. Colostrum is often referred to as the “first vaccine for newborns” which is useful for building children’s immunity to disease. All pregnant women and children need to get TT immunization.

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