Immunizations

Eleven childhood diseases can be prevented by vaccines. In addition, annual influenza vaccine is recommended for all children 6-23 months of age, and all children and adults in group care settings.

1. Diphtheria is a disease caused by a type of bacteria. One child can spread this germ to another by coughing or sneezing, or through saliva.

  • Symptoms: Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat which makes it hard for a child to breathe.
  • Serious problems: This sickness also can cause heart problems, inability to walk, and even death.
  • Vaccine (shot): DTaP is the vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. The vaccine keeps our children safe from diphtheria. It is very important that our children get all 5 doses(shots) of DTaP to protect them from this serious disease. After early childhood, lifetime protection from diphtheria requires booster shots every 10 years.

2. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a disease caused by a type of bacteria. One child can spread this germ to another by coughing or sneezing, or through saliva.

  • Symptoms: This disease can cause fever, cloudy thinking, stiff neck, throat swelling, bone pain, and painful, reddened skin.
  • Serious problems: This disease can cause serious infections in the brain, lungs, and/or blood and may lead to death.
  • Vaccine (shot): Hib is prevented by a vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae type b. It is very important that our children get these shots so that they do not get this serious disease.

3. Hepatitis B is a disease caused by a type of germ that is called a virus. The Hepatitis B germ is in the body fluids of an infected person. It can be spread by sharing household items, having sex with an infected person, or using an infected needle. An infected mother can pass it on to her unborn child.

  • Symptoms: This disease can cause loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, tiredness, yellow skin or eyes, and pain in the arms, legs, and stomach.
  • Serious problems: Hepatitis B can damage the liver, cause liver cancer, and cause death. Children who get Hepatitis B disease when they are young have a good chance of getting liver cancer later in life.
  • Vaccine (shot): HepB is prevented by the vaccine against Hepatitis B. It is important that our children get 3 Hep B shots on time so that they can be protected against this serious disease.

4. Measles is a disease caused by a type of germ that is called a virus. This germ is spread from one person to another by coughing, sneezing, or through saliva.

  • Symptoms: Measles causes rash, cough, runny nose, reddened eyes, and fever.
  • Serious problems: It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death.
  • Vaccine (shot): MMR is the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella. If we stop giving our children MMR, measles could become a problem again.

5. Mumps is a disease caused by a type of germ that is called a virus. This germ is spread from one person to another by coughing, sneezing, or through saliva.

  • Symptoms: Mumps can cause fever, headache, and swollen cheeks (glands).
  • Serious problems: Mumps can lead to deafness, infection of the brain, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and death (rarely).
  • Vaccine (shot): MMR is the vaccine against mumps, measles, and rubella. Since this vaccine has been good at preventing mumps, it is important that our children receive the shots to keep them safe.

6. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a disease caused by a type of germ that is a bacteria. This germ is spread easily from one person to another by coughing, sneezing, or through saliva. Many children get pertussis from adults who do not know they are carrying the disease.

  • Symptoms: Pertussis causes coughing that can last for two months or longer. The coughing spells are so bad that it is hard for infants to breathe, eat, or drink. Sometimes, the coughing causes cyanosis (turning blue) and vomiting.
  • Serious problems: Pertussis can lead to brain damage, seizures (jerking and staring), and death.
  • Vaccine (shot): DTaP is the vaccine against pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus. It is very important to get our children immunized on time before they are near someone who can give them this serious disease.

7. Pneumonia is caused by germs that are either viruses or bacteria that infect the lungs. Pneumonia is infection of the lungs. The germs that cause pneumonia are spread easily from one person to another by contact with surfaces or air contaminated by coughing, sneezing, or through saliva. In one person, the germ may cause only cold symptoms, while another may develop infection of the lungs.

  • Symptoms: This disease causes fever, coughing, chest pains, difficulty breathing, and chills.
  • Serious problems: This disease can lead to significant illness and death.
  • Vaccine (shot): Pneumococcal (conjugate) is the vaccine against pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) are types of bacteria that can cause pneumonia. Measles and influenza are viruses that can cause pneumonia too. It is very important that our children receive recommended vaccines that can reduce the risk of these infections.

8. Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a disease caused by a germ that is a type of virus. This germ is in the stool of infected persons and is spread to the mouth by hands that have touched contaminated surfaces or by getting contaminated material (such as swimming water or food in the mouth.

  • Symptoms: May have either no symptoms or sore throat, fever, upset stomach, and/or vomiting.
  • Serious problems: Poliomyelitis can lead to paralysis (can’t move arms or legs, can’t use chest muscles to breathe.)
  • Vaccine (shot or drops): Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) are vaccines against poliomyelitis. In many, but not all countries, IPV has replaced OPV as the preferred vaccine. It is very important the we make sure our children get polio vaccine to prevent this serious disease.

9. Rubella (German measles) is a disease caused by a germ that is a type of virus. This germ is spread from one person to another by coughing, sneezing, or through saliva.

  • Symptoms: Rubella causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis.
  • Serious problems: Pregnant women with rubella are at risk for miscarriage or possible birth defects.
  • Vaccine (shot): MMR is the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella. It is very important that we make sure our children get their MMR shots to prevent the spread of this serious disease.

10. Tetanus is a disease caused by a germ, that is a type of bacteria, that makes a poison (toxin). The germ is found in the soil. It does not spread from one person to another.

  • Symptoms: Tetanus causes painful tightening of the muscles. It can lead to muscle spasms all over the body, including the muscles of the face and jaw. It has been called “lock jaw”.
  • Serious problems: Tetanus can lead to breathing and heart problems and death.
  • Vaccine (shot): DTaP is the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The vaccine is very good at keeping our children safe from this disease. It is very important that we immunize our children.

11. Varicella (Chickenpox) is a disease caused by a germ that is called a virus. This germ is spread from one person to another through the air or by contact with the fluid from chickenpox blisters.

  • Symptoms: Chickenpox causes a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness.
  • Serious problems: Chickenpox can lead to skin infections, pneumonia, brain damage, or death.
  • Vaccine (shot): Varicella is the vaccine against chickenpox. We can protect our children from this disease by making sure that they get their shots on time.

12. Influenza is a disease caused by a type of virus. The illness is spread by coughs, sneezes and touching surfaces contaminated by someone who is infected with the virus.

  • Symptoms: Influenza causes cold-like symptoms, stomach upset, diarrhea, muscle aches, headache. Most deaths from influenza occur in the very young and very old.
  • Serious problems: Influenza can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Vaccine (shot):A new vaccine is developed each year to match the type of viruses that seem to be causing influenza in the world that year. Group care brings close contact that spreads the disease. All children and adults who are in group care are encouraged to get influenza vaccine in time to prevent influenza outbreaks that occur at a predictable time each year.