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vaccine

Q : ” Besides the required jab as per given by the klinik kesihatan, how important for me to take the additional jab from private hospital such as influenza, pneumococal, etc.  What are the side effects towards our children?  I just felt, there are too many vaccine to be given to a child… What do you think of this?”  ( Baizura )

A:  Puan Baizura, I understand the dilemma of parents regarding immunization. To jab or not to jab? But the real question to ask really is: What are the benefits versus risks?

Additional jabs are not in the government schedule partly because of the cost of vaccines related.

When deciding whether additional vaccine is necessary, I always discuss with parents while looking at important factors like below:

i) Is the child born premature( before 37 weeks pregnancy, premature baby is more susceptible to infection),

ii) Is the child healthy otherwise (children with lung and heart disease have higher risk of infections)

iii) Environmental factor ( children that are sent to crowded nursery at just few months old are exposed to myriads of virus and bacteria from mixing with other sick kids).

iv) Any plans to travel abroad?

Then lets look at the diseases singularly.

1) Influenza is a common virus. It causes high fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and body aches. In its severe form, it can cause pneumonia (lungs infection), bronchitis (airway infection) and even death.

The current influenza vaccine only covers certain strains of Influenza A and Influenza B.

Side effects influenza vaccine are: (info from CDC website)

– soreness, redness and swelling at injection site

– fever

– body ache

– headache

– itching

– fatigue

*Life threatening allergic reaction is rare.

* Risk of Guillain Barre syndrome is 1-2 cases per million people vaccinated

2) Pneumococcal bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae) is a bacteria that causes brain infection, pneumonia (lungs infection), blood stream infection and ear infection.

Complication involves brain damage, empyema (pus in lungs) and even death.

Side effects of pneumococcal vaccine are: (Info from CDC website)

Reported problems associated with PCV13 (Prevenar 13 strains coverage) vary by dose and age, but generally:

  • About half of children became drowsy after the shot, had a temporary loss of appetite, or had redness or tenderness at injection site
  • About 1 out of 3 had swelling at injection site
  • About 1 out of 3 had a mild fever, and about 1 in 20 had a higher fever
  • Up to about 8 out of 10 became fussy or irritable
  • Life threatening reaction from vaccine is rare

I hope my explanation helps.

( answered by Dr Wong Wei Yin )

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