It is normal for you and your child to come into contact with bacteria and viruses on a regular basis. Some of these microbes can cause serious problems.
Immunisation protects your baby from serious diseases and illnesses. It is safe and easy to administer.
When you are vaccinated, your body responds by creating antibodies that defend it against that disease in the future. It builds up a defence system that destroys the bacteria and viruses before they cause illness.
Whooping Cough (pertussis) - this is an infectious disease spread by coughing and sneezing. Breathing becomes difficult with distinctive coughing spasms. This can be fatal for children and babies.
Diphtheria - this is a bacterial infection spread by droplets from the nose. The bacteria produces a toxin which spreads throughout the body and causes heart failure or paralysis.
Polio - a virus of the gastrointestinal area. A serious disease which is not under control however it can make another appearance if children are not vaccinated from it.
Tetanus - caused by a bacteria made toxin which is found in soil and animal manure. Serious side effects are spasms, lockjaw, breathing problems and convulsions.
Mumps - virus spread by saliva. Is serious if complications set in - such as swollen brain and infertility.
Measles - caused by a virus. Highly infectious and spread by coughing and droplets from nasal passages. Can have serious side effects and complications can cause encephalitis or pneumonia.
Rubella (German measles) - dangerous if spread to pregnant women. Therefore very important to have your child immunised against it.
Hib - a bacterial infection that can cause other more serious diseases in children and infants.
Hepatitis B - this immunisation is available for your baby. It is a virus that attacks the liver and can be the cause of liver cancer.
These diseases are very serious and can often be fatal. Your child needs protection from them from an early age.
Age and what to get immunised against…
2 months diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib.
4 months diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib
6 months diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib
12 months measles, mumps, rubella
18 months diphtheria, tetanus, Hib
4 - 5 years diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio
10-16 years measles, mumps, rubella, hep B
one month later hep B (2nd dose)
six months later hep B
15-19 diphtheria, tetanus
every 10 years diphtheria, tetanus
Not many… Always tell your doctor if your child has a fever and is quite sick, is having any form of treatment that can affect their immune system, has a disease such as AIDS/HIV, Leukaemia, cancer. Your doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate course of action.
IMPORTANT NOTE: - There are some who worry that the whooping cough immunisation may cause brain damage in children. There have been studies conducted which show that this is probably not the case. If it were true, the chances would be less than one in a million. However, it is reported that for every 300 children who are not immunised against whooping cough and are unfortunate enough to catch the disease, two will probably develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and one will die.
This points out that it is more important to get your child immunised.
Reference: The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 6th edition.