Vaccines – Back to school

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School time is vaccination time!

REMEMBER THE V‘s in your ABC‘s


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Full immunisation from infancy is essential to support protection against life-threatening diseases,1-4 particularly before your child starts preschool, school, or tertiary education, 2,5,6 where they could be at risk due to increased contact with others.6

Why routine vaccinations are so important

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  • Diphtheria is spread by person-to-person contact, or by touching objects that have the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae on them. It is also transmitted if you’re around an infected person that coughs or sneezes.7 Diphtheria can cause severe kidney, nervous system and heart damage, and can be fatal.7


  • Tetanus is caused by a toxin-producing bacteria8 due to exposure to contaminated dirt, soil, faeces, rust, saliva,8 an animal bite, a foreign object in a wound or a deep cut.8 Tetanus is a serious disease commonly known as lockjaw.8 It can cause breathing problems, pneumonia or block the arteries of the lungs, and could lead to death.8


  • Whooping cough is caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. It is transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs nearby, and the tiny germ laden droplets are inhaled into the lungs.Complications include pneumonia, slow or stopped breathing, dehydration, seizures or brain damage.9


  • Hepatitis b is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis b virus.10 It is spread when infected blood, semen, or other bodily fluids enters the body. People can also become infected from birth (mother-to-child), sex with an infected partner, sharing needles, toothbrushes, razors, or via the blood or open sores of an infected person.10 Hepatitis b is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, kissing, coughing or sneezing.10  Hepatitis b causes inflammation of the liver, affecting its function.10 The disease may progress to what is known as chronic hepatitis b, which is a lifelong illness10 causing cirrhosis (liver scarring affecting function),11 liver cancer or even death.10


  • Poliomyelitis (polio) is caused by the poliovirus.12 It is very contagious and enters the body through the mouth. Polio is spread through contact with an infected person’s faeces, or less commonly, from the sneezing or coughing of an infected person.12  Polio can infect a person’s spinal cord causing paralysis, which could lead to permanent disability and death.12 It may cause meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain), or paresthesia (feeling of pins and needles in the legs).12


  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), is a type of bacteria that causes a life threatening infection, which can lead to serious illness, especially in children.13 Hib is spread mainly through coughing, sneezing or contact with secretions from the nose and throat of an infected person.13  Complications that could develop from Hib include meningitis (infection of the membrane covering the brain), epiglottitis (inflammation of the flap at the top of the windpipe, which could block breathing) or pneumonia (lung inflammation).13


  • Several different bacteria can cause invasive meningococcal disease, with Neisseria meningitidis being one of the most important because of its potential to cause epidemics.14 It is transmitted by an infected person through close contact (e.g. sneezing or coughing), living in close quarters (e.g. students), sharing eating or drinking utensils etc.14  Meningococcal meningitis is a rare but serious infection that can be fatal.15 For those that survive, it can cause long-term disabilities including deafness, brain damage, neurological problems, and even loss of a limb.15

Do you know when to get your child vaccinated, with which vaccine, to ensure that they’re protected?

When to vaccinate for which disease

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From infancy through to adulthood

Vaccinate for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis b, polio and haemophilus influenzae type b infections16



Age: 6, 10 and 14 weeks16,17



Age: 18 months16,17

Vaccinate for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio2



Age: Suitable for children 6 years of age2,16


Vaccinate for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio, following primary immunisation.2




Age: From 12 years2,16

Booster recommended every 10 years2

Vaccinate for prevention of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis3




Age: Between 9 and 23 months
2 doses: 3 months apart 3




Age: 24 months – 55 years3


Sanofi Pasteur, a world leader in vaccines, offers a range of vaccines against preventable diseases such as: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis b, meningococcal disease, whooping cough and haemophilus influenzae type b infections.18

Childhood vaccine protection wears off with increasing age, making booster
vaccinations essential for maintaining protection2


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Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the vaccines that are most appropriate for your child

  1. Poorolajal J, Khazaei S, Kousehlou Z, et al. Delayed Vaccination and Related Predictors among Infants. Iran J Publ Health 2012;41(10):65-71.
  2. Liang JL, Tiwari T, Moro P, et al. Prevention of Pertussis, Tetanus, and Diphtheria with Vaccines in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2018;67(2):1-48.
  3. Meiring S, Hussey G, Jeena P, et al. Recommendations for the use of meningococcal vaccines in South Africa. S Afr J Infect Dis 2017;32(3):82-86.
  4. Zhang L, Prietsch SOM, Axelsson I, et al. Acellular vaccines for preventing whooping cough in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014;9. Art No.: CD001478. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.pub6.
  5. WebMD. Back-to-School Vaccinations Made Simple. Available from: Accessed date: 19 January 2022.
  6. TeenVaxView for College and Technical School Students. Available from:
    teenvaxview/groups/college.html. Accessed date: 19 January 2022.
  7. Healthline. Diphtheria: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis. Available from: Accessed date: 22 December 2021.
  8. Mayo Clinic. Tetanus – Symptoms and causes. Available from: 20351625. Accessed date: 22 December 2021.
  9. Mayo Clinic. Whooping cough – Symptoms and causes. Available from:
    symptoms-causes/syc-20378973. Accessed date: 22 December 2021.
  10. CDC. Hepatitis B Questions and Answers for the Public. What is Hepatitis B – FAQ. Available from: Accessed date: 22 December 2021.
  11. Mayo Clinic. Cirrhosis. Symptoms and causes. Available from: Accessed date: 2 February 2022.
  12. CDC. What is Polio? Available from: Accessed date: 1 February 2021.
  13. Better Health. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Available from: Accessed date: 22 December 2021.
  14. KZN Health. Meningococcal Meningitis. Available from: Accessed date: 6 January 2022.
  15. WebMD. An Overview of Meningococcal Meningitis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments and Vaccines. Available from:
    children/meningococcal-meningitis-symptoms-causes-treatments-and-vaccines. Accessed date: 22 December 2021.
  16. EPI Schedule SA 2015.
  17. NICD. Vaccine Information for Parents & Caregivers. First Edition November 2016.
  18. Sanofi Pasteur. Sharing our Passion for Preventing Diseases with Vaccination. 2018.

For full prescribing information, refer to the professional information approved by SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority).
sanofi-aventis south africa (pty) ltd. reg. no.: 1996/010381/07. Floor 5, Building I, Hertford Office Park,
90 Bekker Road, Midrand, 2196. Tel. (011) 256 3700.
For Medical Information Enquiries kindly contact [email protected]
MAT-ZA-2101493-0.1-1.0 – 03/2022.

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