Baby Immunisations: A Guide to Keep Your Baby Healthy

The importance of understanding the critical role of baby immunisation is vital given that misinformation is circulating and vaccine hesitancy is on the rise. Baby immunisations are essential to keep your baby healthy. Not only will immunisations prevent your child from developing a potentially life-threatening disease, but they also help protect the community as a whole. Discover more about baby immunisations as Bloom outlines immunisation awareness for parents so you can make informed decisions for the well-being of your children.

Importance of childhood immunisations: why your baby needs a vaccine

Immunisations for babies are crucial for safeguarding their health and well-being. A child needs immunisations because their immune system is immature and still developing, making them vulnerable to various infectious diseases. Early childhood vaccines help protect babies by stimulating the immune system to recognise and fight off harmful pathogens preventing potentially serious illnesses. By following recommended immunisation schedules, a baby can develop immunity against diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough, and more, reducing their risk of contracting these illnesses and developing potential complications. 

What vaccinations do children need in South Africa?

In South Africa, the National Department of Health follows a comprehensive immunisation schedule that is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to protect infants from various infectious diseases. These immunisations are offered free of charge at state vaccination clinics. Several baby immunisations are recommended for children, which form part of the country’s national paediatric vaccine programme.

The vaccination schedule for infants includes: 

Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG)

Age: given shortly after birth.

This protects against tuberculosis (TB), a severe respiratory infection. TB can affect various organs and is a significant health concern in many parts of the world.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Age: the first dose at birth, followed by additional doses at six weeks and 14 weeks.

This will help prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. HBV is highly contagious and can be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth.

Oral Polio Vaccine or IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine)

Age: administered at six weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks.

The polio vaccine for infants helps protect against this highly infectious viral disease that can lead to paralysis and death. Polio has been successfully eradicated in many parts of the world thanks to vaccinations. However, vaccination efforts remain crucial to prevent its resurgence.

Pentavalent Vaccine

Age: given at six weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks.

This protects against multiple diseases in a single vaccine, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). These diseases can cause severe illness and complications, especially in young children.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Age: administered at six weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks.

Guards against infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and septicemia. Pneumococcal diseases can be life-threatening, particularly for infants and young children.

Rotavirus Vaccine

Age: given at six weeks and 14 weeks.

This baby immunisation prevents rotavirus infection, a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and dehydration in infants worldwide. Rotavirus can be especially dangerous in regions with limited access to medical care, making vaccination crucial for infant health.

MMR Vaccine (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)

Age: administered at nine months.

This will protect against measles, mumps, and rubella, three highly contagious viral infections. Measles, in particular, can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis. Vaccination is key to preventing outbreaks and protecting both baby and community health.

Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)

Age: given at 12 months.

This will prevent chickenpox, a contagious viral infection that is characterised by an itchy rash and a high fever. While chickenpox is usually mild in children, it can cause complications in some cases. Vaccination reduces the risk of severe illness and helps prevent outbreaks.

Vaccinations must be administered to children at the correct time. Check the Department of Health’s Extended Programme of Vaccination schedule to make sure your child gets the right vaccination at the correct age.

What vaccinations does Momentum Health4Me cover?

The Health4Me Gold, Silver and Bronze health insurance plans all cover an annual influenza vaccination for each member of the plan. Flu circulation is seasonal, with ‘flu season’ starting in the first week of June and lasting for about 12 weeks. Getting a flu vaccination early will reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Get Momentum Health4Me cover for the whole family

At Bloom, we’re committed to healthy living and good health, which is the reason why we encourage our members to get baby immunisations for their children. Vaccines are critical when it comes to combating vaccine-preventable diseases. Likewise, make sure you’re covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan for your family’s medical healthcare needs.

Contact one of our expert consultants for a free quote and to sign up for health insurance coverage for yourself and your family. 

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Momentum Health4Me is not a medical scheme product, and is not a substitute for medical scheme membership. The information provided on this website does not constitute advice in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act. Momentum is a division of Momentum Metropolitan Life Limited, an authorised financial services provider (FSP 6406) and a wholly owned subsidiary of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited.

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