As a parent, you take every step to ensure your child's health and safety. You employ every safety measure, from installing booster seats to baby-proofing your house. Vaccination is another way to protect your child against the world's evils—diseases and infections—and adhering to vaccination schedules keeps the protective layers up.
A vaccination schedule or coverage is a global health step toward reducing child mortality. It is a routine check-up to monitor one's vaccination status. Following this schedule is vital to maintain immunity and protection against infections that vaccines counter and prevent.
Therefore, health professionals and public officials, such as government authorities and healthcare providers, should release effective vaccines and enforce accessible vaccination coverage. Similarly, parents and guardians should meet them halfway by ensuring their child or ward receives timely vaccination per the prescribed schedule. Working together strengthens the healthcare infrastructure, makes vaccines more accessible, provides proper training and brings awareness to the relationship between immunization schedules and child mortality rates.
Vaccinations are not a one-time deal. They require multiple follow-up sessions to recharge the dosage and maintain protection. Vaccination schedules observe a child's vaccination report, ensuring they receive the correct vaccination dose at the right time. For instance, a child receiving polio vaccination should get the doses at two months, four months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years.
Tracking the effect of vaccination on one's body is essential to gauge its effectiveness, duration, and side effects. A vaccination schedule is a significant measure of the performance of your immune system.
Complying with vaccination schedules administers the impact of a specific vaccine on your healthcare system. Ensuring that your child adheres to the plan guarantees safety against the disease the vaccine is for.
Additionally, schedule adherence rebuilds the vaccine protection before the previous dosage becomes unusable or ineffective. Unlike common colds or headaches that only require a medicine or two to settle, mass outbreaks of diseases need proper vaccination. Yellow fever, smallpox, polio, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic are outbreaks that affect communities on a large scale.
According to UNICEF, global vaccination coverage witnessed a steep decline in 2021, with vaccination being inaccessible to 25 million children. The global range of DTP3's third dosage fell by 5% from 86% in 2019 to 81% two years later. Data also shows that out of the 25 million children who either remained unvaccinated or did not adhere to the schedule, over 60% are from India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Eighteen million children did not receive a single vaccination dosage.
Various factors cause the steep decline of vaccination, such as the large population of children living in inaccessible regions, hesitation, misinformation, halted operations, the lack of resources, and poor containment facilities that hindered vaccination accessibility and availability and adherence to schedule.
Recent data in Europe and the USA show that schedule compliance is low compared to vaccine availability. For instance, only 25% of children in the USA adhered to the schedule and received vaccination at the prescribed milestone. On the other hand, data from Cyprus shows that DTP vaccination reached 81% of children, and the vaccine for pneumonia reached 64%. However, the vaccination schedule did not match the accessibility, as only 66% and 26% of children followed up, respectively.
Vaccination schedule compliance can be attained by building a robust healthcare system, providing proper training to healthcare professionals, and informing parents and guardians about the necessity of vaccination coverage and follow-up.
The availability and accessibility of vaccination and its awareness rely significantly on the healthcare infrastructure. A robust system assesses the vaccine performance and the schedule to make the required changes. Healthcare or government bodies should send reminders to parents, reminding them of the upcoming dosage. Studies have shown that text messages or phone calls have helped increase adherence to vaccination schedules.
Vaccines evolve according to their performance and side effects. Therefore, it is essential to keep healthcare providers in the loop by updating them on new vaccines and schedules.
Another way of ensuring schedule compliance is by raising awareness. Healthcare providers should inform them of the necessity of vaccination schedules, their effect on the human body, and their impact on the child mortality rate.
Parents want the best for their children, and vaccination schedules are sure-shot ways of securing a safe future for them. Following schedules guarantees protection against infections and diseases, keeping them healthy and maintaining their immune system.