Vaccines provide a significant contribution in protecting children from diseases. The law relating to compulsory vaccination is referred in the Vaccination Ordinance of 1886 to protect people from deadly diseases such as small pox. Introduction of Expanded Program on Immunization in 1978 in Sri Lanka is a significant milestone. The National Immunization program is highly successful in protecting the young generation for the future. It has become successful up to the extent, in which the health index of our country is the same as in developed countries. Expected target is achieved due to the ability of conducting the immunization schedule covering almost the total population.
Vaccines provided for children in the National Immunization Program
Vaccines for children during the first year (Infancy)
B.C.G soon after birth of child
This is the first vaccine given to the child. It produces immunity against tuberculosis. Normally it is given within 24 hours of birth. There is a second vaccination after 6 months if a scar is not formed after the first dose at the point of vaccination.
Vaccines for the child on completion of 2 months
Oral polio virus vaccination (OPV)
Pentavalent (DTP – HepB – Hib) first dose
OPV is given as a few oral drops to prevent the polio viral disease. Triple vaccine was used instead earlier, which was against three diseases. The same amount of protection is provided with resistance to five diseases now. This is a great plan conducted by the National Immunization Program.
Diphtheria, tetanus, Hepatitis – B, whooping cough and Hemophilus Influenza B are the diseases prevented by the Pentavalent vaccine.
Vaccines given to child on completion of 4 months
Oral Polio virus Vaccine (OPV)
Pentavalent (DTP – HepB – Hib) second dose
It is suitable to vaccinate the second dose after 6 – 8 months from the first dose. Latest change in the National Vaccination program is the introduction of Infusion Polio Vaccine (IPV) instead of OPV from May, 2015.
Vaccines given to the child on completion of 6 months
Oral Polio Virus (OPV)
Pentavalent (DTP – HepB – Hib) third dose
It is suitable to vaccinate the third dose after 6 – 8 months from the second dose.
Vaccines given to the child on completion of 9 months
The MMR (first dose) vaccine is an immunization vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella and vaccinated on completion of 9 months.
Vaccines for children during the second year
Vaccines given to the child on completion of 12 months The first dose of vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis is given on completion of 12 months to the child.
Vaccines given to the child on completion of 18 months
Forth dose of oral polio Vaccine and triple vaccine (DTP) is given to the child on completion of 18 months
Vaccines given to the preschooler
The second dose of MMR vaccine is given against measles, mumps and rubella on completion of 3 years to the child.
Vaccines given to the school going child
Vaccine for oral polio Vaccine (OPV) and forth dose of vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus (DT) are given to the child on completion of 5 years.
Vaccines for triple diseases and diphtheria (aTd (adult Tetanus diphtheria))are given on completion of 11 years.