Why are immunisations opportunities often missed?

Many opportunities to immunise children are missed. This is a serious mistake as the child may become ill, or even die, from a preventable disease. Children often visit doctors or attend clinics or hospitals without being immunised because of stock shortages, because the child’s immunisation status is not checked on the Card or because it is too much trouble to give the correct immunisations.

Whenever a child visits a doctor or clinic, the opportunity must be used to detect and give missing immunisations. In addition, a visit to a doctor or nurse often exposes an unimmunised child to other children with preventable infections such as measles. It is important to look at the infants immunisation record in the Road-to-Health Card at every visit to a clinic or hospital and to make sure that all the recommended immunisations have been given. Outstanding immunisations must be given immediately before the child goes home.

Opportunities for immunisation are also lost when health facilities do not offer immunisation services every day. Therefore, this essential service should be made available on a daily basis at all clinics and hospitals where children are managed.

A child may develop a serious infection as the result of a missed immunisation.

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