Protect your children

Everyone knows the saying "prevention is better than cure", but vaccination against serious infectious disease is one of the best examples of the old maxim.

Proper immunisation means initial vaccination and subsequent booster doses over a set period of time – see the easy-to-follow guide below.

Age BCG OPV DPT Hib Hep BV Measles/MMR DT Td
Birth BCG OPV 0            
6 weeks   OPV 1 DPT 1 Hib 1 Hep BV 1      
10 weeks   OPV 2 DPT 2 Hib 2 Hep BV 2      
14 weeks   OPV 3 DPT 3 Hib 3 Hep BV 3      
9 months           Measles 1    
15 months           MMR (optional)    
18 months   OPV 4 DPT 4     Measles 2 (or MMR)    
5 years   OPV 5         DT  
6 years             Td
12 years               Td booster

BCG = bacillus Calmette-Guérin (tuberculosis) vaccine
OPV = oral polio vaccine
DTP = diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine
DT = diphtheria, tetanus vaccine
HBV = hepatitis B vaccine
Hib = Haemophilus influenza group b (meningitis) vaccine
Td = Tetanus and diptheria vaccine 6 and 12 years old

Over the last few years there has been a fair amount of controversy regarding vaccinations, but the latest research shows that they do not cause serious harm. There can be mild side-effects such as headaches, muscle aches and fevers, which usually last for only a few hours, and the temporary side-effects that may be suffered are minimal in comparison to the sometimes-fatal diseases.

Learn more:
All you need to know about vaccines and vaccination.

Reviewed by Dr Diana Hardie, Clinical Virologist, employed jointly by University of Cape Town and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS)

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