Immunising Your Child
Immunisations play an important role in keeping your child protected against various infectious diseases by building your child’s immunity towards preventable infections. Vaccines are most effective when provided at specific recommended intervals. Here are common vaccines for children and the diseases that they protect against:
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine
The BCG vaccine protects against tuberculosis (TB), a serious infection which affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body. The BCG vaccine is given to infants as has been shown to provide good protection against the prevalence of the disease. The BCG vaccine produces a small raised bump which eventually heals with scarring.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), which can be life-threatening. The virus is transmitted through contact with an infected person’s blood, bodily fluids, or from mother to the foetus.
DTap/IPV/ Hib Vaccine
This combination vaccine immunises against the diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, inactivated polio and haemophilus influenzae type B diseases.
- Diphtheria is a serious disease that usually begins with a sore throat but can escalate into breathing difficulty. It can also damage the heart and nervous system – and in severe cases, can even lead to death.
- Tetanus is a disease affecting the nervous system that can usually lead to muscle spasms, lockjaw and breathing difficulties. It is caused by neurotoxins produced by bacteria growth through open cuts and wounds.
- Pertussis or ‘whooping cough’ is a disease that can cause long bouts of coughing and subsequent breathing difficulty. Infants below the age of 1 are at increased risk of whooping cough and are generally hospitalised when diagnosed, as it can lead to death.
- Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause lifelong paralysis.
- Haemophilus Influenzae type B is a bacterial infection that can cause illnesses such as septicaemia (infection of the bloodstream), pneumonia (lung infection) and meningitis (infection of the brain covering and spinal cord). It is a deadly illness if not treated properly.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
Pneumococcal disease infections are caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium that enters the body and spread to the blood, brain or lungs. In severe cases, it can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
Measles can cause fever, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and rashes. It can cause complications including ear infections, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.
Mumps can cause fever, headache, muscle pain, loss of appetite and swollen glands. It can cause complications including deafness, meningitis and sterility.
Rubella, also known as German measles, causes rashes and fever. If a woman contracts the infection during pregnancy, this could lead to a miscarriage or serious birth defects in the baby.
The MMR vaccine may result in a fever 6 days or later after vaccination.
Rotavirus is a virus that infects the stomach and intestine, causing severe diarrhoea, vomiting and fever in infants and young children. Hospitalisation may be required in some cases due to severe dehydration.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver that is transmitted through the oral-faecal route, either from person-to- person or via the consumption of contaminated food or water. When infected, one may present symptoms such as fever, prolonged jaundice, headaches and fatigue.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus which causes blister- like rashes, itchiness, fatigue and fever.
Influenza, or the flu, is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death.