Sunday, October 22, 2006

Haitian Vaccinations

The national vaccine immunization program in the United States, directed principally at children, is one of the most successful examples of effective preventitive care. One of the most dramatic examples of the benefits of apporopriate immunization is the marked derease in cases of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infection since the introduction of this vaccine in 1987. Incredibly, the number of cases of children younger than five years of age in the United States declined by >99% by 2000.

Haitian children have access to standard vaccinations including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measels, mumps, and rubella. They can also recieve oral polio vaccine and BCG vaccine (to prevent tuberculosis). However, very few Haitian children have access to "second generation" vaccines like Haemopilus influenzae described above. This bacteria can be particularly bad causing infections at multiple sites including meningitis and sepsis.

Other vaccines that only Haitian children with means have access to include hepatitis A and B, pneumococcus, influenza, meningococcus, and varicella-zoster(chicken pox).

All of these vaccines are considered "standard of care" for U.S. children that live only 90 minutes away from their Haitian neighbors.

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