Immunization
Vaccines Frequently Asked Questions
  • ​What is the benefit of children routine immunizations?
    • Children immunizations (vaccine) protect children from infectious diseases and their dangerous complications. So, vaccine help secure a health and plague-free community.
  • How immunization protects children from diseases?
    • Vaccination consists of introducing an agent (a bacterium, virus or molecule) into the body that has been deprived of its pathogenicity, so the body makes antibodies to fight the disease. If the germs from the disease enter child's body in the future, the anitbodies destroy the germs before he can become sick.; thus protecting him from the disease and its complications.
  • What diseases children are vaccinated against in the Kingdom? What are their complications?
    • The immunization schedule features 15 vaccines to prevent 15 diseases, including:
      1. Tuberculosis (TB): TB is a contagious bacterial infection that involves the lungs. It may spread to other organs such as bones, joints and brain.
      2. Hepatitis B: HBV causes fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark urine, cirrhosis or liver cancer. HBV can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during birth.
      3. Hepatitis A: HAV causes fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark urine. It can lead to acute liver failure and death.
      4. Poliomyelitis (Polio): It is a crippling disease that attacks the nervous system leading to permanent limbs paralysis, or death in some cases. 
      5. Diphtheria: Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that affects the throat that causes difficulty breathing and inflammation of hearth muscles.
      6. Neonatal Tetanus: It leads to jaw and neck cramping, as well as having trouble swallowing and breathing. It may also lead to death.
      7. Whooping Cough (Pertussis): It affects the respiratory system. It causes pneumonia and seizures. 
      8. Haemophilus influenzae: It causes a wide range of diseases including meningitis, pneumonia and Septicaemia.
      9. Strep: It causes a wide range of diseases including meningitis, pneumonia and Septicaemia.
      10. Meningitis: Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges. It symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, delirium, coma and even death. Children may show different symptoms such as lethargy, unusual crying, fever, irregular feeding, or becoming unresponsive.  
      11. Gastroenteritis (diarrhea, vomiting, or both) cause by Rotvirus: It may lead to dehydration (loss of body fluids), heart beat abnormalities (arrhythmia) and kidney failure which may cause death.
      12. Measles: It causes rash and fever. Its complications include pneumonia, otitis media, meningitis or even death.
      13. Rubella: It causes rash and fever. Pregnant women with rubella may abort or give premature birth. Fetus may suffer acute cardiac and brain deformities, deafness and blindness.
      14. Mumps: It affects the salivary glands. It causes inflammation of the brain and meningitis. It may also lead to permanent deafness and male infertility. 
      15. Chickenpox (Varicella): It is characterized by itchy red blisters with fever. It may cause acute itchy rash, pneumonia, meningitis, or death. It often affects children or people with weak immune systems. 
  • Why some vaccines require more than one dose? Is it necessary?
    • Yes, it is. Make sure to take all prescribed doses according to the immunization schedule to ensure child's full immunization. Usually, the first does slightly and temporarily sparks the immune systems/ Only after taking the full vaccine doses the system produces the sufficient antibodies to resist microbes. 
    • Some diseases require booster doses at regular intervals, including diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.
  • Why are vaccines given at a certain age?
    • This depends on identifying more vulnerable age groups. Hence, the right age for vaccination and dose intervals are determined. So, you better comply with dates set in immunization schedule to avoid children infection with related diseases; especially as their immune system is not yet fully developed. Infection at such early age may lead to more acute complications, disability or even death.
  • Why are vaccines given at certain intervals?
    • Premature vaccinations may impair the immune system's response to produce sufficient antibodies. To do so, the immune system needs ample time after vaccination (differs from vaccine to another) to build enough antibodies.
  • What if my child misses a shot?
    • Missing a shot often makes a child vulnerable to target diseases. To ensure full protection, children who have fallen behind schedule can catch up without having to start over.
    • Take vaccines in time to ensure maximum protection. 
  • Does getting more than one vaccine at the same visit harm my child? 
    • No. Rather, it key to ensure complete immunization at the right age to prevent such diseases as affect children during that period.
  • Why give combined vaccine?
    • It's meant to reduce shots. Combined vaccines are as safe and effective as individual ones. Combined vaccines include hexavalent vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenzae type B and hepatitis B
  • Are there immunization side effects? 
    • Like all other medications, vaccines have simple side effects, including pain or redness due to the shot, fever, or stress. Acute side effects are very rare.   
  • When not to give vaccines?
    • If the child overreacts to an early dose of the same vaccine; as he may be hypersensitive to a certain component used in the vaccine. Also, a child with weak immune system ma no take live vaccines.
  • What vaccines not to give children with immune deficiency?
    • Immune deficiency could be hereditary, acquired or due certain drugs. In such cases, a child may not be given live vaccines, rather than other ones. 
  • Do children with sickle cell disease take additional vaccines?
    • Children with sickle cell disease are immunized according to the basic immunization schedule's vaccines in addition to:    
      • Seasonal influenza: Yearly after 6 months old.
      • Pneumococcal vaccine.
      • Meningococcal vaccine.
  • Should we immunize the child in vaccination campaigns?
    • Yes, since these campaigns boost community's immunity and prevents reemergence of disease. These campaigns include immunization against polio, triple viral vaccine, and measles vaccine which prevents measles epidemic, rubella and mumps. Children are given these vaccines irrespective of earlier ones.
  • Should we immunize children against seasonal influenza?
    • Yes, yearly before the season (October - January), as from 6 months to 18 years old, mainly more vulnerable groups, including:
      • Children below 2 years of age.
      • Children on long-term aspirin medication.
      • Children with chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, liver, renal, blood and cardiac diseases, as well as immune deficiency patients).
  • Are there temporary barriers to immunization?
    • Yes, there are, including: 
      • All vaccine to be delayed due to acute sickness (medium or sophisticated), with fever or not.                                          
      • Children on chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunosuppressants are not vaccinated during medication and three months after.      
      • Temporary live vaccines barriers (measles, triple viral vaccine, varicella), as well as children with blood transfusion or antibodies over preceding three months.
  • Which cases are not barriers to immunization?  
    • The following cases are not barriers to immunization:                               
      • Acute diseases, such as cold, otitis media, diarrhoea.
      • Taking antibiotics.
      • During convalescence.
      • Taking corticosteroids through inhaler or ointments. Oral corticosteroids - below 2mg dose for each 1kg of the child for less than 2 weeks - are not barriers to immunization.
      • Simple effects due to vaccination.

 

 
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