Let’s talk about children vaccines in Kenya

Let’s talk about children vaccines in Kenya


 “Our actions today will impact future generations.”

While this has almost become cliché to hear, it remains true, especially when it comes to vaccines.

So what exactly are vaccines and why are they such a big deal?  

Vaccines protect us against many preventable diseases. They work by first injecting the dead or inactive parts – “antigens” – of the disease back into our bodies. But don’t worry, these antigens aren’t usually strong enough to make us sick. Instead, they cause our immune systems to produce the immune response – or “antibodies” – that lead to immunity against the disease. 

So why is it important for children to get their recommended vaccines?

Vaccines have prevented diseases – such as measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, yellow fever – that used to be fatal to millions of children around the world. Now, because of vaccines, these are no longer the prime causes of death for young children. 

But that doesn’t mean we can forget about vaccines. Many of these diseases are still around. If you aren’t vaccinated and if you catch them, it can lead to dire consequences such as removal of limbs, loss of muscle function, hearing loss, brain damage, or even death. Vaccines prevent this from ever happening – from childhood into adulthood.

What is the recommended schedule of vaccines?

According to the Kenyan Ministry of Health, vaccination has been highlighted as the most successful and cost-effective health intervention in our history. In Kenya, the immunization schedule is given by the Division of Vaccines and Immunizations (DVI) at the Ministry of Health, commonly known as KEPI (Kenya Expanded Programme on Immunization):

Recommended age

Antigen

Disease prevented

Birth

BCG
OPV

Tuberculosis
Polio

6 weeks

DPT-HIB-HEP B
OPV
Pneumococcal
Rotavirus

Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
Haemophilus influenxa type B
Hepatitis B
Polio
Pneumonia
Rotavirus

10 weeks

DPT-HIB-HEP B
OPV
Pneumococcal
Rotavirus

Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
Haemophilus influenxa type B
Hepatitis B
Polio
Pneumonia
Rotavirus

14 weeks

DPT-HIB-HEP B
OPV & IPV
Pneumococcal

Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
Haemophilus influenxa type B
Hepatitis B
Polio
Pneumonia

6 months

Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency

9 months

Measles
Yellow fever

Measles
Yellow fever (only offered in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, and Turkana Counties)

18 months

Measles

Measles

It is important to stick to this schedule.

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