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Vaccination - Introduction

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Childhood vaccination is usually provided as a routine service in maternal-child health clinics or other health facilities. Children should receive the vaccinations they need at the right age during scheduled or drop-in clinic visits. Most countries have a recommended vaccination schedule, that is, the ages at which children should receive each does of various vaccines.

Click hereto go to a website where you can find the complete vaccination schedule for all vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization. Alternately, click here to see a summary table of the schedule for infant vaccination.

Vaccinations can also be delivered in campaigns where vaccine teams try to vaccinate all eligible persons within a few days or weeks in the targeted area. Such campaigns sometimes deliver only one vaccine, but sometimes include other vaccinations and/or other preventive health interventions, such as vitamin A supplementation. These campaigns usually send health workers to the community to vaccinate children at local places, such as school, churches, or mosques, and do not rely on parents to bring their children to a health facility.

Vaccinations in emergencies are often delivered both ways, in routine clinic visits as part of primary health care and in campaigns meant to rapidly provide maximum protection to the population. In most emergencies, the vaccine-preventable disease of greatest concern is measles. Large outbreaks of measles have occurred in displaced populations. Such outbreaks can have a very high case-fatality rate, as high as 10-20%, in malnourished populations of children. Therefore, the Sphere Project (click here to open document)recommends that a mass vaccination campaign be done emergently for children 6 months - 15 years of age if fewer than 90% of this group has immunity. Such a campaign should vaccinate at least 95% of eligible children, and at least 95% of new children entering the population should be vaccinated against measles as they enter. Thereafter, vaccination should be made part of routine maternal-child care.