What are vaccines?

Vaccines are substances that produces immunity from a disease. It may contain an antigen (e.g. measles, yellow fever & polio vaccines) or a combination of antigens (e.g. pentavalent vaccine). An antigen is a biological agent that induces immune response in the human body.

What is immunization?

Immunization is the process by which a person is protected from or made resistant to an infectious disease, typically by administering a vaccine at dened periods. Immunization is like activating the body’s army or defense mechanism against harmful organisms.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by preparing the body to fight germs that may cause illness. When germs or disease-causing micro-organisms enter the body, the immune system produces antibodies to fight them. Vaccines contain antigens, which are dead or considerably weakened organisms or part of the organism that when administered, help to produce antibodies. Whenever a vaccinated individual is exposed to the actual disease, the antibodies already produced destroy and eliminate the germs and prevent the individual from ill-health and/or death. Vaccines provide immunity from various kinds of infectious diseases.

Are Vaccines safe for my child?

Yes. Vaccines are very safe. The Nigerian government long-standing vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible. Millions of children are safely vaccinated each year.

What are the vaccine preventable diseases?

Many of the common diseases that kill Nigerian children are vaccine-preventable. For example, there are vaccines against pneumonia, measles, diarrhoeal diseases, meningitis, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (i.e. pertussis) and yellow fever among others. Cervical cancer – the second most common cancer, which kills many women in Nigeria – can also be prevented by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine. It should be noted that many organisms cause pneumonia and diarrhoea, and that the available vaccines provide protection against some but not all causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea. The good news is that the available vaccines target the deadliest causes of these diseases.

Are Vaccines safe?

Yes. Vaccines are very safe. The United States’ long-standing vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible. Currently, the United States has the safest vaccine supply in its history. Millions of children are safely vaccinated each year. The most common side e ects are typically very mild, such as pain or swelling at the injection site.

Are all diseases vaccine-preventable?

Not all diseases can be prevented with vaccines. However,

Why do vaccines start so early?

The recommended schedule is designed to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to life-threatening diseases. Children are immunized early because they are susceptible to diseases at a young age, and the consequences of these diseases can be very serious, and even life-threatening, for infants and young children.

Why is it that some immunized children still get ill from the disease(s) they were immunized against?

There are many possible explanations to this. First, not all causes of a disease may be prevented by vaccination alone. For example, many organisms cause pneumonia and meningitis, but pentavalent and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines protect against the two most common organisms that cause them – Haemophilus infuenza type B (HIB) and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Second, a vaccine that is not stored within the recommended temperature (+2 to +8 degrees Celsius) at the health facility level may lose its potency and become ineffective when administered to clients. In addition to vaccines, good environmental hygiene and regular hand washing with soap and water help to protect children and adults from many infectious diseases.

My child is healthy. Why do I still need to vaccinate him/her?

Every child is born with naturally-acquired immunity to fight against diseases. Unlike adults, the immune system of children are immature and not strong enough to eliminate many of the germs they may be exposed to. Immunization provides protection to help children fight diseases in their early life, thereby helping to save millions of children around the world from untimely death.

Are there side effects from vaccination?

The most common side effects are typically very mild; such as pain or swelling at the injection site.

Why do some vaccines have multiple doses?

Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides your child with the best protection possible. Depending on the vaccine, more than one dose is needed to build high enough immunity to prevent disease, boost immunity that fades over time, make sure people who did not get immunity from a rst dose are protected, or protect against germs that change over time, like u. Every dose of a vaccine is important because they all protect against infectious diseases that are threats today and can be especially serious for infants and very young children.

Is immunization free in Nigeria?

Yes, all vaccines given via the routine immunization programme in Nigeria are free in government owned/public health facilities across the country. The free vaccines include BCG (against TB), polio, Pentavalent vaccines (contain vaccines against diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough, tetanus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B – HIB), pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV), measles and yellow fever. Depending on the availability of suffcient funds, Rotavirus vaccines may become free from 2018 and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) a few years later. However, other vaccines are currently not free of charge.