Child protection week
Immunisations offer protection against preventable diseases
Child Protection Week is observed from 28 May to 4 June 2021. One of the best ways to protect our children is by immunising them against preventable diseases, including Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Whooping cough, Polio, Rotavirus and other serious childhood diseases.
“It will take the whole of society approach to ensure that children are safe and protected. This starts by educating children about their rights, educating the adults, parents, guardians and teachers who are responsible for protecting those rights. We also need to rope in churches, civil organisations, business, and other spheres of government in ensuring that the most vulnerable being children are protected. We must also protect our children against preventable diseases that can cause death or disability by taking them for their immunisations,” says Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
Whilst the Western Cape is rolling out its biggest vaccination drive yet to vaccinate people 60 years and older against COVID-19, we continue to prioritise ensuring children are immunised against preventable childhood diseases. Every child needs a series of immunisations as it protects against several dangerous diseases. A child who is not immunised is more likely to suffer illness, become permanently disabled or become malnourished and die. Immunisation not only protects children, it also protects communities against these diseases.
Immunisations are one of the fastest ways to protect your child’s health and it is free at all public health clinics. Western Cape Government Health also runs immunisation campaigns and health workers are sent to nursery schools and crèches to immunise the children.
Immunisations are safe. Although side effects following immunisations do occur, they are usually mild and clear up quickly. Contact your clinic for advice if you are concerned.
The first immunisations are given at birth and then at several intervals throughout the child’s first years of life. The Expanded programme of immunisation schedule has been designed to ensure that babies and children receive these vaccinations at the most ideal time. However, if you happen to fall behind on the immunisation schedule, you can still take your baby or toddler to your local clinic to arrange for a catch-up strategy.
Immunisations are given at the following intervals:
- At birth
- 6 Weeks
- 10 weeks
- 14 weeks
- 16 weeks
- 9 months
- 12 months
- 18 months
- 12 years
Even if your baby is sick or recovering from an illness, you can still take them for their immunisations. The health worker will also use the opportunity to monitor your baby’s growth and development and will give you instructions or referrals should they have any concerns.
Immunisations will give your child the best chance to stay healthy and will give you as a parent peace of mind to know that they are protected from serious illnesses.
For more information on immunisations, refer to your child’s Road to Health booklet or contact your nearest public health clinic to make an appointment with a professional health worker.