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Are you doing everything to protect your child?

by Editor

As a parent, it is natural to protect your children. From car seats when they were babies to strapping on that helmet. But, have you considered the importance of vaccinations?

Vaccination saves lives1

Full immunisation from infancy is essential to ensure prevention against life-threatening, vaccine-preventable childhood infections2

In South Africa we have what is known as the EPI (Expanded Programme on Immunisation), published by the National Department of Health. This provides guidelines for immunisations against VPDs (vaccine-preventable diseases) such as measles, polio, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), etc. and outlines vaccination schedules from birth, by age.3

Where to find the EPI schedule

  • State patients: Road to Health booklet 
  • Private patients: Vaccination booklet provided by hospital/clinic

Note: these booklets should be kept in a safe place as they serve as a vaccination record, when next to have your child vaccinated, and may be required when your child enters school.

Vaccinations are not only for babies.4 Vaccines are available for infants, through to the elderly.4 Infant vaccinations are known as ‘primary’, followed by ‘booster’ vaccinations for the years ahead.4

It is important to always follow up with booster vaccinations to maintain protection as your child’s immunity declines over time. 4,5 It is  particularly important to consider vaccination before your child starts preschool, where they can be at risk due to increased contact with other children.4,5

  • The implication of untimely vaccination is that children with incomplete or delayed* vaccination, are at unnecessary risk of VPDs and may potentially become the vehicles for epidemics.6,7
  • Late vaccination can be associated with a reduced chance of survival in cases of disease exposure.2

Some parents may prefer to ‘spread out’ injections so that not as many are administered at one time, however, many childhood vaccines are combined in one injection. A good example is the booster vaccine which provides immunity against 4 major childhood diseases making it easier to comply with the vaccination schedule.8-10

VACCINATE. You have the power to change their future2

*Delayed vaccination is defined as 30 days or more11

References: 1. Shen S, Dubey V. Addressing vaccine hesitancy. Clinical guidance for primary care physicians working with parents. Canad Fam Phys 2019;65:175-181. 2. Poorolajal J, Khazaei S, Kousehlou Z, et al. Delayed Vaccination and Related Predictors among Infants. Iran J Public Health 2012;41(10):65-71. 3. New EPI Guidelines. Revised October 2010. Available from: https://health-e.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/South-Africa-EPI-vaccines-revised-Oct-2010.pdf. Accessed date: 30 March 2021. 4. Liang JL, Tiwari T, Moro P, et al. Prevention of Pertussis, Tetanus, and Diphtheria with Vaccines in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2018;67(2):1-44. 5. Hewlett EL, Edwards KM. Pertussis – Not Just for Kids. N Eng J Med 2005;352:1215-1222. 6. Hu Y, Li Q, Chen Y. Timelines of Childhood Primary Immunization and Risk Factors Related with Delays: Evidence from the 2014 Zhejiang Provincial Vaccination Coverage Survey. Int J Environ Res and Public Health 2017;14(1086): 1-13. 7. WHO World Health Organization. New measles surveillance data for 2019. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/15-05-2019-new-measles-surveillance-data-for-2019. Accessed date: 31 March 2021. 8. Smith PJ. Humiston SG, Parnell T, et al. The Association Between International Delay of Vaccine Administration and Timely Childhood Vaccination Coverage. Public Health Reports 2010;125:534-541. 9. Vaccine Approved Package Insert, August 2016. 10. Pancharoen C. Chotpitayasunondh T, Cheunkitmongkol S, et al. LONG-TERM IMMUNOGENICITY ASSESSMENT OF A DTAP-IPV//PRP-T VACCINE GIVEN AT 2, 4, 6 AND 18-19 MONTHS OF AGE, AND IMMUNIGENICITY AND SAFETY OF A DTAP VACCINE GIVEN AS A BOOSTER DOSE AT 4 TO 6 YEARS OF AGE IN THAI CHILDREN. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Pub Health 2012;43(3):687-698. 11. Kiely M, Boulianne N, Talbot D, et al. Impact of vaccine delays at the 2, 4, 6 and 12 month visits on incomplete vaccination status by 24 months of age in Quebec, Canada. BMC Public Health 2018;18(1364):1-15.

Tetraxim children hugging

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