What Are Childhood Vaccinations?

What Are Childhood Vaccinations?

Childhood vaccinations are the vaccine programs that prevent children from getting specific illnesses or diseases. Vaccinations are very effective in preventing infectious diseases and decreasing the complications of these diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a schedule for childhood vaccines, beginning at birth and continuing through adolescence unless otherwise directed by a physician. Childhood vaccination schedules vary by country.

What are immunizations?

Immunizations are protectants used to build immunity to infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Vaccines are the most successful immunizing agents because they work with your body’s defense system instead of fighting against it, as antibiotics do. They prepare the body to recognize and fight a specific infection if it ever enters the body again. This is called acquired or active immunity. Vaccines work more quickly and don’t have side effects than antibiotics do.

What are the benefits of childhood immunizations?:

If you have your child vaccinated on time, he will be protected against serious infections like whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria, tetanus, polio, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B), and measles for life! Immunization also helps control infections in the broader community by reducing their spread.

Diseases can spread easily among children when they play together at daycare centers, schools, and playgrounds; this is why vaccination programs aim to reach as many children as possible.

What are the side effects of childhood vaccinations?:

Vaccines, like any medication, can cause side effects. The most common side effect is a sore arm for a day or two. Most serious vaccine side effects such as severe allergic reactions happen very rarely: about one in 1 million vaccinated children may have a seizure caused by fever (which usually lasts only 15 minutes and does not lead to long-term problems). Severe problems such as brain inflammation (encephalitis), which can develop after flu vaccination, also occur very rarely – less than once in 100 000 doses.

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Side effects should always be reported to your doctor or nurse so they can keep track of how many people get specific types of reactions. We know from experience that the benefits of childhood vaccinations far outweigh any potential risks.

What are some common childhood diseases?

Diphtheria:

A bacterial infection can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, or paralysis. It is easily spread from person to person through the air by coughing and sneezing. Diphtheria is a notifiable disease in Australia so cases will be notified to local health authorities, which will notify national surveillance officers at the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA).

You can help stop it from spreading by staying away from people with diphtheria until you have been vaccinated or for seven days after they become well again. The last case of diphtheria in Australia was reported in 1997; however, imported cases have been reported in travelers to Australia.

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infection:

A bacterial infection that can cause meningitis and pneumonia. Hib is a notifiable disease in Australia so cases will be notified to local health authorities, which will notify national surveillance officers at the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA).

In children under five years of age, Hib often causes an illness that includes fever, headache, and neck stiffness, White blood cells called ‘pus’ form in the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord causing signs of brain damage such as irritability or seizures. The last case of invasive Hib disease was reported in 2000; however, recent studies suggest a large number of people who have not been immunized against Hib might be carrying the bacteria.

Measles:

An infection that causes fever, coughing, and a running nose as well as a rash. It is very infectious – about 90 out of 100 people who are exposed to someone with measles will catch it if they have not been vaccinated or had measles previously. The last case of measles in Australia was reported in 1997; however, imported cases have been reported in travelers to Australia.

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Measles can lead to ear infections and pneumonia as well as serious complications such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which occurs almost all children with measles get some swelling in their brains but most recover fully without lasting effects, However, there is no treatment for measles so it is important to prevent cases.

what are the normal childhood vaccinations:

Influenza:

A flu shot is recommended for everyone aged six months or older, annually.  It is important to have this vaccine even if you are generally healthy and have had the flu recently. Each year, about 3% of young children under five years old who are not immunized get influenza; most cases are less severe community-acquired influenza.

Pneumococcal:

The pneumococcal vaccine protects against three types of bacteria that can cause meningitis and pneumonia in young children. It is given in four doses for several weeks, with the first dose starting when your child is two months old or younger depending on their state or territory vaccination program. Your child will need another dose at 15 months of age.

Being vaccinated can protect them from these diseases for life. It also greatly reduces the chance that your child will get sick with other diseases, such as measles or whooping cough, or pass these on to other young children or older people.

The World Health Organization estimates that pneumococcal disease alone causes about 600 000 deaths each year in children under 5 years of age worldwide. By 2020, routine childhood vaccination will likely eliminate all three types of pneumococcal bacteria responsible for meningitis and pneumonia in Australia.

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The last reported case of the invasive pneumococcal disease was 2009; however potential cases are being actively investigated including one confirmed fatal case reported in 2015 among adults over 65 years of age – therefore there remains a challenge to vaccinating children under 5 years of age.

Chickenpox:

A viral infection that causes a blister-like rash, fever, and tiredness. It can be serious for infants and adults with a weakened immune system. The last case of chickenpox in Australia was reported in 1997; however imported cases have been reported in travelers to Australia since 2000.

The varicella vaccine is recommended at 12-15 months (26 weeks) of age (the second dose is not necessary if the first dose is given after 15 months/33 weeks). If your child misses the vaccine you should catch up as soon as possible – contact your immunization service or GP.

The last reported case of chickenpox in Australia was 2009; however potential cases are being actively investigated including one confirmed fatal case reported in 2015 among adults over 65 years of age – therefore there remains a challenge to vaccinating children under 5 years of age.

Diphtheria:

A rare but serious infection that causes inflammation of the throat and can lead to breathing difficulties, paralysis, heart failure, or even death. It is usually spread through coughing or sneezing by someone with the disease.

There have been no cases of diphtheria in Australia since 1991; however potential cases are being actively investigated following an imported case in 2012 which led to an outbreak that was quickly controlled.

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