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Vaccine preventable diseases are infectious diseases from which one can be effectively protected if ONLY one received immunization for it. Vaccination is a highly effective method of preventing certain infectious diseases. They are generally safe. Serious adverse reactions are uncommon.

Little do many people know that even adults can receive vaccine. Science has done well enough to help humanity provide preventive measures to over 20 diseases; yet, ignorance makes millions of people in Africa- Nigeria inclusive to be victims of morbidity and mortality that could have been prevented.

When someone died of a disease that could have been prevented by vaccine, we call it- VACCINE PREVENTABLE DEATH. Below are diseases which are preventable by receiving vaccine as highlighted by World Health Organization (WHO):

CHOLERA: It is an infection which occurs through ingestion of food or water contaminated by faeces or vomitus of infected individual. Symptoms are watery diarrhea with nausea and vomiting, and rapid dehydration which is the major cause of death in cholera if on treated within a few hour. Causative organism is Vibro cholerae bacteria. Vaccine against cholera are: killed oral O1 and O139.

DENGUE: It is an infection which occurs through virus-infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito bite. Virus causing dengue is Dengue virus. Symptoms are febrile illness, headache, retro-orbital pain, generalized body pain, generalized joint pain, nausea, rash, shock, unprovoked bleeding and severe organ impairment. The only vaccine available for dengue is CYD-TDV vaccine.

DIPHTHERIA: Causative organism is Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It spreads by inhaling droplets containing the bacteria and close physical contact. To learn more, read our previous article on:

TETANUS: This life-threatening condition is caused by Clostridium tetani. If untreated, it is often fatal. Attack can be prevented by getting vaccinated with DPT or Pentavalent vaccine.

PERTUSSIS: This condition is otherwise called whooping cough; caused by Bordetella pertussis. It is characterized by acute respiratory infection marked by severe coughing episode. Sometimes, it can be life-threatening. Attack can be prevented by getting vaccinated with DPT or Pentavalent vaccine as well.

HAEMOPHILUS INFLUENZAE TYPE B (Hib): In children, it is an important cause of various life-threatening diseases e.g. pneumonia, meningitis, epiglottitis, septicaemia etc. Vaccine for Hib is polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine. Pentavalent is used in country with low coverage of Hib vaccination.

HEPATITIS A: Acute viral hepatitis is characterized by abrupt onset of fever, malaise, nausea and abdominal discomfort, followed by jaundice a few days later. In very young children infection is usually mild or asymptomatic, whereas in older children symptomatic disease is common. The disease is often more severe in adults and full recovery may take several months. The case-fatality rate is greater than 2% for those over 40 years of age and about 4% for those aged 60 years or more. The virus is acquired through close contact with infected person or through faecally contaminated food or drinking-water. Two types of hepatitis A vaccines are currently used worldwide, namely formaldehyde-inactivated vaccines and live attenuated vaccines. Both types are safe and highly immunogenic and provide long-lasting, possibly life-long, protection against hepatitis A in both children and adults.

HEPATITIS B: May be transmitted perinatally from infected mothers to babies, through injection or transfusion of contaminated blood products, or through penetration of the skin with contaminated needles. In addition, hepatitis B is frequently transmitted by sexual intercourse. When contracted perinatally or in early childhood, the infection is rarely symptomatic but is likely to develop into chronic liver disease that may develop into cirrhosis and/or cancer in the course of decades. Infection in older children and adults more often causes acute hepatitis, but rarely chronic liver disease. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all non-immune persons who by choice of destination and/or lifestyle may be at risk of hepatitis B virus infection.


  1. Hepatitis E
  2. Human Papilloma Virus which causes cervical cancer
  3. Seasonal Influenza
  4. Japanese encephalitis
  5. Measles
  6. Meningococcal disease
  7. Mumps
  8. Pneumococcal disease
  9. Polio
  10. Rabies
  11. Rotavirus
  12. Rubella
  13. Tick-Borne Encephalitis
  14. Tuberculosis
  15. Typhoid fever
  16. Yellow fever