What happens when you miss a vaccination?
Immunization clinics often display national vaccination schedules on their walls. Often, parents are handed immunization cards that show the vaccines to be given at a specific age. These cards and charts make it easier for parents stick to the specified vaccination schedule. But sometimes life gets in the way, and vaccinations will go off-schedule. So, what happens when you miss a vaccination?
Let’s face it: life happens. Parents forget; babies fall ill, hospitals go on strike; public holidays take up vaccination days. There are many reasons why parents and babies are unable to stick to vaccination schedules. So, what happens when you miss a vaccination? And what can parents do to fix their child’s vaccination schedule?
In this article, we shall answer a few questions about what happens when you miss a vaccination. We will also address the question of what you can do to remedy the situation. Our recommendations will be based on reports from the World Health Organization. We will also factor in the advice of top-rated health professionals in the country.
If your baby has missed a vaccination, speak to a knowledgeable health provider. That’s the first step to take. Preferably, speak to a nurse who has been trained in giving immunizations.
When you have the health provider’s full attention, explain everything. Give precise dates of previous vaccinations, if any. If you have your immunization card, hand it over to him or her. The child’s immunization history will determine the plan of action.
Here are a few things you should be open about:
• If your child is starting the vaccination series late
• How many doses of the antigen the child has received
• If the vaccination series has been interrupted
Irregular vaccine schedules can be a bit problematic for health providers. Recommendations will depend mostly on the length of the time that has passed since the last immunization. The longer the time, the more radical the remedial strategy.
According to health providers, some vaccinations can be resumed after long breaks. This is especially the case for missed vaccinations for Hepatitis B, diphtheria, Vit A, measles, polio, tetanus, and acellular pertussis. On rare occasions, the professional will start the vaccination series from scratch. It depends on the patient’s history. The health provider employs discretion when making these decisions.
While you’re wondering what happens when you miss a vaccination, keep an open mind. Go out of your way to follow the new guidelines and immunization schedules.
After the vaccination schedule has been corrected, stick to the new timetable. Don’t miss anymore vaccinations The antigens are best taken according to schedule. Most vaccines aren’t effective when they are taken too early or too late. So stick to your schedule religiously.
Here are a few things you can do to help you adhere to the national immunization schedule:
• Set notifications in the calendar apps on your electronic gadgets
• Ask other people to send you reminders on the specific dates as well. You can set reminders on their phones
• Note the dates in your diary. Parenting involves juggling too many balls at once. You’re likely to forget if you don’t note the dates in your diary.
• Paste a photocopy of the chart beside your bathroom mirror
• Circle the dates in your paper calendar
It is important to note that certain vaccines cannot be given after a certain date. Common examples of these are the rotavirus and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.
“The rotavirus vaccine helps to prevent diarrhea. Babies ought to get the first dose during their sixth week of life. The second dose is administered on the third month of the child’s life. After the fifth or sixth month, the vaccine won’t be as effective,” says Dr. Ifeyinwa Ihejirika, a gynecologist in Annunciation Specialist Hospital, Enugu.
All three doses of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine should be taken within the first nine months. Once the child crosses the ninth month milestone, the missed vaccine can’t be administered. If, however, the health professional administers the vaccine, the antigens may not effectively protect the child.
Don’t forget that the schedule is designed to boost the immunity of infants and young children. The goal is to protect children from infectious diseases early on in life when their immune systems are very fragile.
The World Health Organization believes that missed vaccinations are common within and outside traditional immunization objective groups. Programs have been set up to accommodate people who might have irregular immunization schedules. So if you’ve missed a vaccine, visit the nearest immunization center you can find. Speak to the health provider and disclose your immunization status.
Resources: World Health Organisation
Also Read: Vaccines that may cause fever in your child