Immunization Schedule For Kenya : A Guide For Parents
This article highlights the immunization schedule in Kenya. It also explains the vaccinations and at what ages your child should vaccinate for each one
Immunization against disease could be considered more urgent than the treatment of the disease. After all, prevention is better than cure. Immunization is not only important for the child but the community as a whole since it prevents the spread of infections. Most diseases are known to move from person to person quickly. But if a good number of people are immunised, diseases will be unable to move through the community. Thanks to immunization, diseases like polio and smallpox have been wiped out. The immunization schedule in Kenya has been in place since 1980.
Basically, immunization is a way of making the body strong enough or able to fight the disease agent or immunogen. An immune response is triggered when the body is exposed to foreign agents, and this response helps it come up with protection against subsequent attacks.
Immunization schedule in Kenya
The Kenyan government has included several vaccines in the immunization schedule, which is now known as the Kenya Expanded Programme Immunization Schedule. It is an improvement on the original immunisation schedule that was established in Kenya in 1980. The old schedule didn't have some diseases included in it.
Below is the schedule according to diseases.
BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine
This immunisation provides immunity against tuberculosis, and it is administered at birth through injection.
Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
This immunisation is given as prevention against poliomyelitis (polio) at birth, another in the 6th week, another in the 10th and 14th week. Polio is known to cause paralysis in children, leading to weak muscles. It is administered through injection, either in the arm or leg. Three doses of this vaccine protect the body against all three kinds of polio.
DPT-HepB-Hib(Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, and Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type b)
Symptoms of Diphtheria include sore throat, swollen lymph, and fever. This is because of the Corynebacterium diphtheriae that causes diphtheria attacks the mucous membrane. While Bordetella pertussis is the bacterium that causes Pertussis, a respiratory disease that brings about an extreme cough that makes breathing hard. Clostridium tetani causes Tetanus. The bacterium attacks the nervous system, causing muscle contraction to the neck and jaw. Finally, the Hepatitis B virus, causes Hepatitis B, which affects the nervous system. Haemophilus influenza type b comes with symptoms like pneumonia and meningitis in children below five years. It can be transmitted from person to person through the respiratory tract.
Consequently, the vaccine for all five diseases is known as Pentavalent Vaccine, administered on the 6th, 10th, and 14th week respectively.
Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV 10)
This vaccine is given as prevention against sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. It is administered in the 6th, 10th, and 14th weeks.
The measles virus causes measles, which is a highly infectious disease. The vaccine is given at 9 months, to prevent measles infection. The patient starts to get symptoms like inflamed eyes, fever and runny nose after 10 to 12 days of getting infected.
Yellow Fever Vaccine
Symptoms of yellow fever include nausea, muscle pains, fever and loss of appetite. The vaccine is given at 9 months to prevent yellow fever.
Tetanus vaccine (TT)
Tetanus symptoms begin with spasms either in the neck, back or jaw. It can affect the buttocks, chest, and abdominal muscles. Pregnant women and children aged 7 to 14 years get the Tetanus vaccine. During childhood, children are expected to take five doses, and one more during adolescence.
Vitamin A supports the vision, immune function, cell recognition, reproduction, growth and development. The vitamin is administered at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 36 months, 42 months, 48 months, 54 months, and 60 months. Postpartum mothers of less than 6 weeks also get it.
Where to get vaccinations in Kenya
All government hospitals in Kenya give immunization, and in addition, some private hospitals offer the same services
Read also: See Nigeria's Current Immunization Schedule