Haitian Child

Haitian Child

Friday, December 11, 2015

Immunizations in Haiti

I believe in immunizations.

During my career, immunizations have arguably made the single biggest positive influence in health care in Canada. Canadians enjoy the luxury of freedom from diseases that were common and potentially fatal during my early years as a paediatrician. 

Sadly this is not the case in Haiti. Illnesses that are rarely encountered in Canada still cause death and disability in Haiti. For instance, Haiti is the only country in the Americas where neonatal tetanus has not been eliminated. Haiti has the highest incidence of human rabies in the Western Hemisphere. 

Since the earthquake and courtesy of a lot of work by local Haitian health care services and support from the Center for Disease Control, WHO, and other international organizations, immunization programs have substantially reduced the risks of many preventable illnesses in Haitian children. 

In 2012 the "five-in-one" pentavalent vaccine was introduced in Haiti. This vaccine protects for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and H influenzae type b. Rotavirus vaccination was introduced in 2014. Pneumococcal vaccine is scheduled for introduction during 2015.  

The table below outlines the current schedule in Haiti for the most common vaccines and the most recent WHO estimate of how many children complete the full series of immunizations in each category. 


Vaccine
Schedule
WHO estimate 2015
BCG
birth
76
DTPHibHebB
6, 10, 14 weeks
48
OPV
6, 10, 14 weeks,
4 to 5 years
55
Rotavirus
6, 10 weeks
40
MR
9 months

MMR
12, 24 months

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