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Immunizations – General Overview

Immunizations – general overview

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Definition

 

It’s a process used to initiate or augment resistance to infectious diseases. The ultimate goal is to prevent, & in some cases eradicate, potentially serious-life-threatening diseases.
Alternative name is vaccination.

 

Information:

 

The immune system of the body protects it against diseases.
Immunization is a means of triggering acquired immunity that provides long – lasting protection against specific antigens, which can cause certain diseases. This works because the immune system can learn to recognize dangerous invaders if they are presented to it in a weakened form.
In immunization, small doses of the antigen (such as dead or weakened live viruses) are given to activate the immune system. When the immune system comes in contact with the antigens, it learns how to attack them and remembers what they look like. This allows the body to react quickly and efficiently when faced with the actual disease-causing organism. Immunization is one of the best means to protect against many contagious diseases.

 

Four different types of vaccines are currently available:

  • Attenuated (weakened) live virus is used in the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)vaccine, the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine and oral Polio vaccine.
  • Killed (inactivated) viruses or bacteria used in some vaccines. For example, the influenza vaccine uses killed virus.
  • Toxoid vaccines contain a toxin produced by the bacterium or virus. For example, the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.
  • Biosynthetic vaccines contain synthetic “man-made” substances, which appear to be antigens to the immune system. For example, the Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) conjugate vaccine.

 

Recommended Immunization Schedule

 

BCG — Birth
Hepatitis B #1 — Birth
Hepatitis B #2 — 2 months
Hepatitis B #3 — 4 months
Hepatitis B # 4 – 6 months
Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis (DTaP) #1 – 2 months
DTaP #2 — 4 months
DTaP #3 — 6 months
DTaP #4 — 15 to 18 months
DTaP #5 — 4 to 6 years
dtpa # 6 – 10 years
H. Influenzae type b (Hib) #1 — 2 months
Hib #2 — 4 months
Hib #3 — 6 months
Hib #4 — 15 to 18 months
Polio #1 — 2 months
Polio #2 — 4 months
Polio #3 — 6 months
Polio #4 – 18 months
Polio # 5 – 4 — 6 years
Polio # 6 – 10 years
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) #1 — 12 months
MMR #2 — 4 to 6 years
Varicella Zoster Virus Vaccine (chickenpox) # 1 — 12 months
Varicella Zoster Virus Vaccine (Chicken Pox) #2 – 4 years
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine #1 — 2 months
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine #2 — 4 months
Pneumoccocal conjugate vaccine #3 — 6 months
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine #4 — 12-15 months
Hepatitis A #1 — 2 years or older (in selected areas/situations)
Hepatitis A #2 — 6-12 months after Hepatitis A #1 (in selected areas/situations)
Influenza — Annually for children older than 6 months with certain risk factors. May also be given to all others wishing immunity. Children under 8 years old receiving influenza immunization for the first time require 2 doses, 4 weeks apart.
Meningococcal vaccine– 2 years or older in high-risk groups.
Your pediatrician based on risk factors may prescribe other vaccines.

 

If you will be traveling outside the country, contact your physician regarding special vaccines that are recommended for the area in which you will be traveling.

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