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Opportunities to immunise

Opportunities to immunise

Child Health Dialogue 1996(2): 3-4

A medical officer for the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) of the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for staff at all health facilities to screen and, if appropriate, immunize every infant, child, and woman of reproductive age attending health facilities. Routine immunization services tend to miss many women and children who should be immunized. Three important components comprise the health team approach needed to avoid missed opportunities: awareness to screen, a well-organized referral system within each health facility, and regular availability of vaccines. In the health facility, the nonimmunized child is at risk of contracting measles, so all such children should be immunized before they leave the health facility. The WHO/EPI medical officer presents five ways to avoid missed opportunities: screen and immunize at every opportunity, administer all required vaccines, stress real and avoid false contraindications, train staff, and open new vials of vaccine when needed. Contraindications to immunization include severe adverse reactions after a dose of vaccine (collapse or shock, convulsions without fever, anaphylaxis, or encephalitis/encephalopathy), neurological disease (for vaccines containing whole cell pertussis), immune deficiency diseases or immunosuppression due to drugs (generally for live vaccines), and symptomatic HIV infections (for BCG or yellow fever vaccines). The following conditions do not preclude immunization: minor illnesses (e.g., upper respiratory infections); allergy, asthma, hay fever, or "snuffles"; prematurity, small-for-date infants; malnutrition; breast feeding; family history of convulsions; treatment with antibiotics, low-dose corticosteroids, or locally acting steroids; eczema or localized skin infection; chronic diseases of the heart, lung, kidney, or liver; stable neurological conditions (e.g., Down syndrome), and history of jaundice after birth. WHO/EPI has an exit survey for use at district-level clinics or hospitals available so program managers can learn if they are missing chances to immunize children.

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Accession: 046870145

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PMID: 12291331

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