- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
It is important for Kenyan parents to get their children vaccinated especially during the first year of life because the immunity that they get from breast feeding due to antibodies passed down from the mother goes away in that year.
“If an unvaccinated child is exposed to a disease germ, the child's body may not be strong enough to fight the disease” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in article titled Why Are Childhood Vaccines So Important? on their website.
“Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but because babies are protected by vaccines, we don’t see these diseases nearly as often.”
Below is a vaccine schedule for Kenyan children under one year.
1. The first vaccinations that babies get after birth is OPV (oral polio), BCG (Bacille Calmette Guerin) and HEP B (Hepatitis B).
It is usually on the arm and needs to take place no less after one week after birth. These vaccinations are to prevent polio, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B virus which can cause chronic inflammation of the liver.
2. At two months, they get vaccinations for Diptheria, Pertussis and Tetanus, again Hepatitis B – (Hep B) & Injectable Polio- IPV, Haemophilus influenza B- HIB
These will protect against whooping cough, tetanus, infections of the blood, brain (meningitis) or lungs (pneumonia)
They also get vaccinations for pneumonia which protect against pneumococcal infections of the blood, meningitis
Another injection includes Rotavirus vaccine; rotarix 2 doses, rotateq 3 doses- these protect against diarrhoea and vomiting.
3. The vaccinations for the second month are a repeat for third and fourth month.
4. At five months, they get the pneumonia vaccine again.
5. At six months babies get the rabies vaccine and flu vaccine, which is yearly.
6. At seven months, they get the flu vaccination.
7. At nine months they get the measles vaccination
8. At 10 months babies are required to get the meningococcal meningitis and yellow fever vaccine.
9. At 12 months- they get MMR #1 for measles, mumps and rubella. They also get Hepatitis A #1 vaccination for Hepatitis A Virus.
The reason for repeat vaccinations for some viruses is because some bacteria become immune thus the need for another vaccination.