Saturday, July 20, 2024 | 22:15 WIB

Double immunization is safe for children!

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Jakarta, IO – Immunization with more than one type of antigen vaccine injected in one visit, known as “double immunization”, provides twice as much protection for children. Referring to the recommendations of the Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI), double immunization is safe and beneficial, as immunization works more efficiently, and children are immediately protected from several diseases that can be prevented by immunization in just one visit. 

Toddlers should be immunized with an injection in the arm. Inoculation in babies aged 2 months and over are customarily given in right and left thighs, to reduce pain and discomfort. Since there may be soreness at the site of the first injection, to avoid excessive pain, a second injection is administered, in the other thigh. Alternatively, a doctor or health worker may recommend a second injection in the same location, 2.5 centimeters from the first. 

dr. Prima Yosephine, MKM
dr. Prima Yosephine, MKM (IO/Esti)

Director of Immunization Management at the Ministry of Health, dr. Prima Yosephine, MKM, explained that double immunization injections are common in more than 160 countries. “Double immunization does not result in death. Billions of vaccines have been administered through double immunization worldwide. More than 160 countries, including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada, provide a minimum of two shots in one immunization session in their routine immunization schedules. In Indonesia, double immunization in Yogyakarta Province has been standard procedure since 2007,” said dr. Prima in Jakarta, on Saturday (29/6/2024). 

Indonesia introduced double immunization in 2017, with the DPTHB-Hib-3, which is given simultaneously with the Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) for babies aged 4 months. There is also a double immunization schedule for follow-up immunization, namely, measles rubella-2 and DPT-HB-Hib-4, which is given to infants aged 18 months of age. The DPT-HB-Hib vaccine is said to offer protection against six diseases, namely, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, pneumonia and meningitis. 

It was revealed that cases of death after immunization are very rare. In such an event, a detailed and thorough investigation and study of causality –the cause-and-effect relationship– must be carried out. “To date, data shows that the majority of these cases are incidental Post-Immunization Adverse Events (AEFI), which are not directly caused by vaccines or procedural errors,” she explained. 

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Screening Before Vaccination 

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Commission for the Study and Handling of AEFI Prof.Dr.dr.Hindra Irawan Satari, Sp.A(K), M.Trop.Paed, emphasized that double immunization has been recommended since 2003. “Almost all vaccines can be given in parallel. Giving more than three types of antigens will not result in death. Any combination is generally appropriate. The effects are generally mild, mostly without treatment.” 

Regarding the impact of immunization on death, Prof. Hindra said that there is a serious AEFI condition called “anaphylactic shock”. “Anaphylactic reactions can occur 30 minutes after immunization and require fast and appropriate help, but again: such cases are very rare! To determine whether it is anaphylactic shock, it must be proven through an in-depth or comprehensive examination and cause and effect study,” he said. 

Both dr. Prima and Prof. Hindra emphasize that children should be screened by a doctor or health worker before receiving vaccination of more than one type of antigen vaccine. (est)

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