Immunization (Vaccines)


  • Vaccines are given to identify the immune system with the pathogen, in order to stimulate the production of antibodies.
  • Vaccines are of various types, and fight diseases in various ways.
  • Vaccines do not only protect individuals, but also communities as a whole.
  • The protection acquired through vaccination during pregnancy is a protection for the baby as well.
  • Failing to vaccinate children in due time puts them at risk of the targeted diseases.

Immunization defined:
Immunization is the cornerstone of public health. It is a way to protect people from infectious diseases.

A vaccine contains dead or weakened bacteria or viruses (they are not capable of causing a disease) that are administered to individuals to encourage the immune system to recognize them and to consequently produce antibodies that can identify the germ early on. This allows the individual to fight the germ if it encounters it again, therefore preventing disease.
Vaccines are an easy and safe way to protect everyone since they are subject to safety tests before they are approved, and their outcomes are continuously monitored. 

Target groups:
  • Infants
  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • The elderly
  • People with weakened immune systems due to cancer treatments
  • Patients with chronic diseases
  • Pilgrims 
  • Travelers heading to infected areas

Other names:
Vaccination, shots

Types of vaccines: There are several types of vaccines and each type helps the immune system fight a certain type of germs and the diseases they cause. They include:
  • Live-attenuated vaccines: They use an attenuated (or weakened) form of the germ that causes a disease. These vaccines are very similar to the natural infection and therefore help protect against the infection by creating a strong and long-lasting immune response. Just 1 or 2 doses (of most live vaccines) can provide a lifetime of protection against a germ and the disease it causes, e.g. MMR combined vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella), rotavirus, smallpox, chickenpox, yellow fever, shingles, and oral polio.
  • Inactivated vaccines: They use the dead version of the germ that causes a disease. The immunity (protection) they provide is usually not as strong as that provided by live vaccines. Therefore, several doses may be needed over time to gain ongoing immunity against diseases, e.g. hepatitis A, influenza, polio, and rabies.
  • Subunit/conjugate vaccines: They use specific parts of the germ (e.g. protein, sugar, or the casing around the germ). Since these vaccines use only specific parts of the germ, they provide a very strong immune response that targets key parts of the germ. This type of vaccine can be used on almost everyone who needs it, including people with weakened immune systems and chronic health problems. However, one of their disadvantages is that booster shots may be necessary to get ongoing protection against diseases, e.g. Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) disease, hepatitis B, HPV (human papillomavirus), Whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, and meningococcal disease.
  • Toxoid vaccines: They use the harmful product (toxin) made by the germ that causes a disease so that the immune system can fight this toxin rather than the germ. Like other vaccines, booster shots may be necessary to get ongoing protection against diseases, e.g. diphtheria, tetanus.

Why are vaccines important?
  • They give newborns a chance to grow healthily and to have a better life. 
  • They eliminate infectious diseases that were once widespread or that can cause severe complications or death.
  • Vaccines not only protect the vaccinated individuals but entire communities as well.
  • ​They help reduce mortality rates.
  • They help prevent infectious diseases.
  • They stop the development of antibiotic resistance by reducing the use of antibiotics.
  • They help you travel safely and comfortably.
  • They provide economic benefit by saving on the costs of treating diseases. 

What to do when vaccination is forgotten?
Sometimes, you may forget to schedule a vaccination appointment. It is essential to check the immunization record and schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The healthcare provider will help you know which vaccines the child has had and which he/she still needs. 

Children depend on their parents to be immunized.

Immunization before traveling:
When traveling to another country, everyone is at risk of contracting diseases that can be prevented with vaccines. These could include diseases for which vaccines are not routinely administered. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or to visit a travel health clinic six weeks before traveling. Certain vaccines may be recommended based on age, destination and travel plans.

Immunization of pregnant women:
Vaccines can help protect both mother and baby from preventable diseases. The immunity gained by a mother who is vaccinated during pregnancy is passed on to the fetus and consequently protects the infant against certain diseases during the first months of his/her life before any vaccines can be administered. They also help protect the mother throughout the pregnancy. All vaccines recommended to pregnant women are also safe for breastfeeding women.
Before pregnancy, it is important for all members of the household to receive their vaccines on time because the newborn can easily catch infections. Infections can also be severe during the first few months of an infant’s life, especially because some vaccines can only be administered between 9-12 months of age (e.g. measles). Vaccines protect mother and baby from some diseases that may cause:
  • miscarriages
  • Preterm births
  • Birth defects
  • Death

Vaccines necessary for pregnant women
The necessary vaccines should be taken before pregnancy as long as they are suitable and administered at the right time after consulting with a doctor, as they can help protect mother and baby. There are various vaccines recommended during pregnancy:

Before Pregnancy
During Pregnancy
After Pregnancy
MMR combined vaccine
(measles, mumps, rubella)

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Pregnancy should be delayed at least one month after vaccination.


Pregnancy should be delayed at least 3 months after vaccination.
Hepatitis B

Pregnant women can receive this vaccine when needed.

It is a safe vaccine for pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy.
(tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough)

Adult vaccines can be used in the third trimester.
HPV (human papillomavirus)


Avoid during pregnancy.

Guidelines after vaccination
  • Some side effects such as loss of appetite or trouble sleeping don’t need treatment and disappear within 1 or 2 days.
  • Some children may need to rest more after vaccination.
  • Paracetamol drugs may be used (e.g. Fevadol or Panadol) if a fever is detected. Instructions must be followed when administering the drug.
  • Avoid giving aspirin to children.
  • Regularly move the arm or leg (where the injection is taken).
  • Consume lots of fluids and wear light and baggy clothes in case of a fever. 
  • Avoid bathing the child in cold water.
  • Place cold, damp and clean compresses on the injection area to reduce swelling and redness. 

Clinical Education General Department
For inquiries, contact us by this email.

Last Update : 16 August 2023 11:16 AM
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