Monday 2 November 2015


The importance of immunizations can never be overemphasised in our part of the world with the various types of infectious diseases our tender ones are susceptible to. The Federal Government of Nigeria with the support of the World Health Organization has a National Programme on Immunization that performs weekly immunizations in primary health care centers and certain private health facilities, this is to ensure improved access to and coverage of routine immunization services. It was with excitement that Nigeria's delisting from Polio-endemic list was greeted. Nigeria can now be said to be polio-free. I wish same could be said of other childhood killer diseases like measles, diphtheria, tuberculosis, tetanus and pertussis.

Once a child is born, it is recommended that the vaccines BCG (Bacillus Calmette–GuĂ©rin) and HBV (Hepatitis B Vaccine) that protects them from tuberculosis and Hepatitis B respectively be administered before discharge from the hospital. BCG is administered intradermally (below the skin, on the shoulder) while HBV is intramuscular (the muscles of the laps)The babies also should receive their first oral dose of Polio vaccine then. At 6 weeks of age, the baby should be ready to receive the first dose of the conjugated vaccine (often called penta) which protects them from diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, pertussis, meningitis and pneumonia. 2 booster doses of the same conjugated vaccine is administered at least 4 weeks apart. From about 16 weeks of age your baby is supposed to receive an injectable Polio vaccine (IPV), at 9 months the first measles vaccine dose and yellow fever vaccines should then be administered . The booster measles dose comes sometime after 12 months of age. These immunizations are for free in government owned health facilities though sometimes paltry service charges are required. The cost of these immunizations in private hospitals is also small, at least can never be compared to the cost of caring for a sick child.

Dear Informed Mums, please never take your child's immunization for granted. A single day of exposure can cause harm. Our babies depend on us for their protection, they can do nothing by themselves. I usually recommend immunizations be done in good health facilities where anaphylactic reactions can be promptly attended to.

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