Everything you need to know about immunization in Nigeria for kids

Everything you need to know about immunization in Nigeria for kids

Immunization protects children from infectious diseases and keeps them alive and healthy. With the recent outbreak of measles in some parts of the world, more people are taking a harder look at immunization in Nigeria and the vaccines needed to keep children safe.

What is immunization?

The World Health Organization defines immunization as “The process by which a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, usually through the administration of a vaccine.”

Immunization helps the body to develop immunity against certain diseases. According to Immunize Canada, this is how immunity works: Normally, when someone is sick, their body produces antibodies to fight the sickness and help the person recover. Once the sickness is gone, the antibodies remain in the body and prevent the same disease from returning.

Immunization makes it possible to develop immunity without having to get sick first.

With immunization, a harmless germ is administered to the child, but the immune system sees this harmless substance as an infectious agent and reacts by creating antibodies to defend the body. The antibodies remain in the child’s system and fight against the reoccurrence of such a disease.

immunization in Nigeria

Immunization in Nigeria keeps children alive and healthy.

Which immunization in Nigeria is for kids?

Nigerian children are entitled to routine immunization against 9 diseases as follows:

Whooping cough
Hepatitis B
Haemophilus influenza

How are vaccines administered?

These are the different ways vaccines are administered to children:

1. Oral administration
The vaccine is given to the child to swallow. This is by far the easiest method of immunization in Nigeria because needles and syringes are not required.

2. Intramuscular injection (IM)
With this method, the vaccine is injected directly into the muscle mass. This helps to reduce side effects in the area where it is injected.

3. Intradermal injection (ID)
ID is when the vaccine is injected in the top layer of the skin.

4. Subcutaneous Injection (SC)
The vaccine is injected into the subcutaneous layer of the muscle lying just above the skin

5. Intranasal spray
The vaccine is sprayed into the child’s nose. This injection-free mode of administration is perfect for kids because it doesn’t require needles.

Immunization in Nigeria

You can protect your children by following the immunization time table in Nigeria

What are the types of immunization in Nigeria?

The two types of immunization are active and passive immunization.

• Active immunization
Natural active immunization happens when a person gets sick and their body produces antibodies to fight the sickness and make sure it doesn’t return in the future. The body will respond efficiently if the disease tries to come back.

• Passive immunization
Passive immunization allows antibodies to be directly administered to the child through vaccination. Passive immunization can also happen naturally during pregnancy when the mother transfers antibodies to her unborn baby to protect the child before and shortly after birth.

What are the benefits of immunization?

Recently, there have been a lot of arguments for and against immunization and vaccination. UNICEF has found that one-third of children under the age of five die because they weren’t vaccinated.

So, why should you immunize your kids?

• Immunization saves lives
According to UNICEF’s numbers, immunization has saved the lives of more than 3 million children worldwide.

• Immunization protects the whole community from infectious diseases
Once a child is immunized, he/she won’t spread diseases to the people around him/her who haven’t been vaccinated. This is called herd immunity.

• Immunization is cheaper than managing a disease
It is cheaper to prevent diseases by immunizing your child rather than having to treat them for diseases. You can save yourself the cost and stress of treating preventable diseases if you immunize your child on time.

• Immunization in Nigeria is safe
Vaccines undergo rigorous testing processes before they are certified safe for use. This means that immunization is safe for your kids if administered in a government-approved health center.

Side effects of immunization

It is perfectly fine to worry about the possible side effects of immunization. But keep in mind that the benefits are way more than the minor inconveniences.
the NHS lists some of the things to expect during immunization as follows :

• Swelling and redness around the injection site

• Temporary fever and high temperature in children

• In some extremely rare cases, the child may develop allergic reactions immediately after the vaccine is administered (This only happens in 1 out of 1 million children) It is important to remain calm if the allergic reaction happens. Health workers have the training to deal with the issue.

Immunization in Nigeria timetable 2019


Child’s age  Vaccine               Diseases          Method
At birth BCG Tuberculosis Upper left arm
OPV0 Polio Oral
HBV 1 Hepatitis B Upper thigh
6 weeks Prevner 13 or Synoflorix 1 Pneumonia and otitis media upper left thigh
OPV 1 Polio Oral
Pentavalent 1 Hepatitis B, DPT, HIB Upper right thigh
Rotarix Rotavirus oral
10 weeks Prevner 13 or Synoflorix 2 pneumonia and otitis media Upper left thigh
Rotarix 2 Rotavirus Oral
OPV 2 Polio Oral
Pentavalent 2 DPT, HIB, and Hepatitis B Upper right thigh
14 weeks Pentavalent DPT, HIB, and Hepatitis B Upper right thigh
Prevner 13 or Synoflorix Pneumonia and otitis media Upper left thigh
6 months Vitamin A Vitamin A Oral
9 months Measles, Yellow fever Measles, Yellow fever Upper arm (left or right)
12 – 24 months Vitamin A Vitamin A Oral
OPV booster polio Oral
Nimenrix Meningitis septicaemia Upper arm
15 – 18 months Priorix Measles, mumps, rubella Upper thigh
Varilix Chicken pox Upper arm
24 months Typherix Typhoid fever Upper thigh
13 years and above Cervarix Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Upper deltoid muscle

Immunization is one of the best gifts you can give to your children. The Nigerian government has made available immunization in Nigeria to protect the lives of all Nigerian children. Parents need to follow this timetable to make sure every child’s immunization record is up to date.

Resources: UNICEF.org 


Immunize Canada


Also Read: Vaccines that may cause fever in your child

Written by

Julie Adeboye