Child Health

Immunization: What you MUST Know

When a child is born, there’s a transition from a protective, restrictive environment into a world with several germs in the air and on several surfaces. The child becomes exposed to different individuals, environment and microbes.  For children to be prepared to fight infections or become resistant to infections, they need to be immunized.

Immunization is the process of inducing immunity against a specific disease.  Immunization is the process whereby a person’s immune system becomes fortified or resistant to an infection. Many infections can spread regardless of how clean we are, so one needs extra fortification against these diseases. Immunization is a cost-effective tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infections.    Immunization is important for both children and adults because they protect individuals from many diseases. This can be achieved through various techniques, most commonly by administration of a vaccine.

Vaccines are defined as modified whole or parts of microorganisms administered to prevent an infectious disease.  Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infections or diseases. According to WHO, Immunization averts 2-3million deaths each year; a million due to measles alone. Immunization does not require a major lifestyle change. Immunization prevents illness, diseases, disabilities and death from vaccine-preventable diseases like diphtheria, polio, hepatitis B, tetanus, Cervical Cancer, tetanus, pneumonia.

 Immunity against a specific disease can be induced either passively through the administration of antibody-containing preparation (Artificial Passive Immunity) or transfer from mother to fetus while in the womb (Natural Passive Immunity) or actively after exposure to an antigen or microbe (Natural Active Immunity) or by administering a vaccine or toxoid to stimulate the immune system to produce a prolonged immune response (Artificial Active Immunity)


Who needs to be immunized?

  1. Children: newborns, infants, toddlers, pre-school, school age
  2. Adolescents
  3. Adults and children travelling to endemic areas of a specific disease
  4. Individuals exposed to disease outbreak/during epidemics
  5. People with Sickle Cell Anemia
  6. People without Spleen
  7. Pregnant Women
  8. Health Workers
  9. Individuals with particular exposure e.g. Rabies Vaccine for child/adults bitten by potentially rabid dogs; tetanus vaccine for people who had a cut, deep wounds etc.

Vaccines interact with the immune system to produce an immune response similar to that produced by the natural infection, but they do not cause the disease or put the immunized person at risk of its potential complications. The price paid for getting immunity through natural infection might be paralysis, birth defects or even death.

Below is a table showing National Immunization Schedule in Nigeria







At Birth








Hepatitis B



6 Weeks




Pentavalent 1 (DPT, HBV, Hib)




PCV 1 (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)


Rotatrix 1



Diphtheria, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Tetanus, hepatitis B, Hemophilus Influenzae B disease


Pneumonia, Otitis Media



Rota Virus Gastroenteritis



10 Weeks



Pentavalent 2 (DPT, HBV, Hib)




PCV 2 (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)


Rotatrix 2



Diphtheria, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Tetanus, hepatitis B, Hemophilus Influenzae B disease


Pneumonia, Otitis Media



Rota Virus Gastroenteritis




14 Weeks




Pentavalent 3




PCV 3 (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)






Diphtheria, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Tetanus, hepatitis B, Hemophilus Influenzae B disease


Pneumonia, Otitis Media





6 Months


Vitamin A




Vitamin A Deficiency




9 Months



Measles Vaccine

Yellow Fever Vaccine





Yellow Fever



12 – 24 Months





 Vitamin A

OPV Booster




Meningitis, Pneumonia

Vitamin A Deficiency




15 – 18 Months



Priorix (MMR Vaccine)

Varilix (Varicella-Zoster Vaccine)




Measles, Mumps, Rubella

Chicken Pox



24 Months Typherix


Typhoid Fever

13 years & above




Human Papilloma Virus Infection

Cervical Cancer







Keep making healthy choices

  • Was this Helpful ?
  • YES   NO
Dr. Chisom Okoye
Dr Chisom Okoye is a medical doctor with over four years’ experience in Child health. She believes that health education is vital in promoting positive health attitude among parents or care givers because children are affected greatly by their decisions, activities and inactivity. She is also very passionate about making the dreams of children from less privileged homes becoming future professionals a reality through promoting access to quality health care and education; thereby creating equal opportunities for every child.

    You may also like

    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    More in Child Health