Summary of Study Session 2
In Study Session 2, you have learned that:
- The most effective way to protect people from the common vaccine-preventable diseases is to maintain a high level of immunization with the vaccines in the routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).
- The common EPI antibacterial vaccines used in Ethiopia are: BCG, which protects children against the most serious effects of tuberculosis (TB); a pentavalent vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, cases of meningitis and pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b, and hepatitis B liver disease; and PCV10, which protects against pneumonia and some other infections caused by specific strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
- At least two doses of TT vaccine (and ideally five) should also be given to pregnant women and women of childbearing age to protect them and their newborns from tetanus.
- A meningococcal vaccine is available to control outbreaks of meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitides bacteria; it is not a routine EPI vaccine.
- To guarantee long-term protection, all doses of the routine antibacterial vaccines in the EPI should be given. A child who misses a vaccination should be given the missed dose as soon as possible and complete any remaining doses at the scheduled time.
- The EPI antibacterial vaccines are very effective and safe for infants, and TT vaccine is safe for women of childbearing age and during pregnancy. Adverse events following immunization are usually mild, e.g. low-grade fever and soreness at the injection site, which can easily be managed; serious adverse events are extremely rare.
- Infants with minor illnesses may be immunized safely. But if they are suffering from a high fever (38.5oC or above), they should be referred to a health centre; delay the immunization until after they recover. Other contraindications are HIV disease, severe allergic reaction or encephalopathy following a previous dose of a vaccine.