Immunization Module: Antiviral Vaccines

Study Session 3  Antiviral Vaccines


In this study session, you will learn about the antiviral vaccines that are in common use for preventing viral diseases in most developing countries, including Ethiopia, and the recommended dosages and schedules for immunization with these vaccines. There are many other antiviral vaccines available in the world that are not widely used in developing countries, so we will concentrate here on the common antiviral vaccines available for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in Ethiopia. These are hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, oral polio vaccine (OPV) and measles vaccine. You will also be reminded about the need to give vitamin A supplements at the same time as the measles vaccine, and to children who present to you with measles. Then we describe one of the newer antiviral vaccines against rotavirus, which is being added to the EPI. Finally, we mention yellow fever vaccine, which is not in the EPI but may be required for travel abroad.

Studying this session will enable you to give clear information to the people in your community about the value of immunizing their children with these vaccines, which prevent long-term disability and save many millions of lives. You will be able to tell parents that these vaccines are very safe, and any adverse events following immunization are almost always very mild and easily treated. We will also describe the contraindications that mean you should not immunize a child, either temporarily or permanently.

To guarantee long-term protection, all doses of the antiviral EPI vaccines should be given. If a child misses the scheduled date for an immunization, he or she should be given the missed dose as soon as possible. There is no need to re-start the immunization schedule.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 3