PARENTS URGED TO ENSURE CHILDREN ARE FULLY IMMUNIZED
Health and Sanitation CEC Ruth Koech has urged all parents and caregivers, to take their children to the nearest health facility for free vaccination to immunize them against vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio.
Vaccinations are given to prevent 10 diseases that have historically proven harmful to children, causing serious complications and even death, including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and hepatitis B.
The vaccines are commonly administered by drops in the mouth or through injections.
Speaking at Koibem Dispensary in Chepkumia ward, the county executive committee member said that it will now be mandatory for children to be fully vaccinated for these diseases before attending school.
“There is a vaccination schedule that starts at birth and the vaccination schedule that every child must adhere to, and this goes up to the age of six. Once they enter primary school or pre-school, which will be children around seven years of age, they should be adequately and fully immunized to enter,” she said.
The CEC pointed out that the vaccines are the first line of defence to protect a child’s underdeveloped immune system against diseases.
“Vaccines are not treatment. They are given to prevent you from getting sick if you come in contact with the germ. You have to get the vaccine before you are exposed to the germ, so that the immune system will already have the antibodies ready and on hand so that once you are exposed to the germ, then your body can mount an effective and increased immune response to prevent you from getting sick,” she explained.
Ruth said that a child who attends school without being fully immunized is highly susceptible to contracting life-threatening diseases and also poses a potentially serious public health risk to others.
“It is our collective responsibility as parents, caregivers and communities to work side-by-side with the health system to ensure that our children are up-to-date with immunization to protect them from infectious childhood diseases because one unvaccinated child can pose a huge risk to children they stay or play with,” she added.
“That is why I urge everyone to ensure that their children receive these free services at their nearest health facility because vaccination does not only protect the individual but curbs the spread of diseases within the community”, said Ruth.