21 Vaccine Preventable Diseases & Benefits of Immunization


If there is anything that the current Coronavirus pandemic has shown, it is without doubt, the importance of Vaccines & Medicines in the advancement of mankind & our battle against diseases.

The Covid-19 outbreak which started in January 2020 in Wuhan, a city in China has infected over 6 million persons globally & claimed the lives of almost 400,000 individuals with US being the worst hit.

In Nigeria, there has been over 11,000 recorded cases with over 300 deaths from Covid-19 complications.

Today, we want to emphasize on the importance of Vaccines & remind everyone that vaccines work!

A Child getting Vaccinated. Image Credit: WHO

Immunization prevents between 2-3 million deaths every year. 5 visits will get the child fully immunized. A fully immunized child is strong & healthy. This remains the greatest asset to the family & nation.


  • 1. Immunization is Free and It is your basic right as a Nigerian.
  • 2. We can save millions of Nigerians from vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization, .
  • 3. Millions of Nigerians are dying from Vaccine preventable diseases.
  • 4. immunization is made to prevent diseases and not to cure sicknesses.
  • 5. Immunization/Vaccination is not a means/strategy to reduce population.
  • 6. Immunization/Vaccination doesnt cause impotence/sterility or any other disease.
  • 7. Nigeria has the lowest immunization rate in Africa
  • 8. Nigeria is the only country in Africa with polio with a high transmission in the north.
  • 9. Ignorance, religion, culture and misinformation contribute to immunization failure in Nigeria
  • 10. Nigeria has to develop Vaccines locally, to combat various diseases.

Table of Content

What are Vaccines?

An inactivated or attenuated pathogen (toxin) or, a component of a pathogen that when administered to the host, stimulates a protective response of the cells in the immune system. Dont worry, all these are just grammar. Just understand that vaccines are medical substances given to people to help them boost their immune system & fight against diseases.
They can be live, weakened or killed organisms.

Vaccination: is the process of exposing an individual to these vaccines in order to induce the individual to produce antibodies that would help them fight diseases.

How are Vaccines Given?

Vaccines are given at different sites of the body. Some are given Orally like the Oral Polio vaccine. Others are injectables given either at the arm or the thigh.

How much do Vaccines cost?

In Nigeria, a good number of these vaccines are FREE & paid for by the efforts of the government & the World Health Organization Expanded Programme on Immunization. They are part of the Nigerian NPI schedule for newly born babies from birth to 18 months. The others which are not free are available at various hospitals in the country at a price.

Where do I get these Vaccines in Nigeria

To get your baby Vaccinated, simply visit any primary health centre (PHC) around your area or any General Hospital or Teaching Hospital closest to you.

Vaccines provided for by the NPI

At Birth, a baby receives the BCG, OPV0, Hep-B0 vaccines that protect against Tuberculosis, Polio and Hepatitis B.
At 6 weeks, the baby receives OPV1, Pentavalent1, PCV1, Rota1: These vaccines protect against Polio in addition to Diphtheria, pertusis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenza (all in Pentavalent) as well as Diarrhoea caused by Rotavirus.
At 10 weeks, the baby goes back for OPV2, Pentavalent2, PCV2, Rota2 which offers protection against the same organisms above.
At 14 weeks, they go back for OPV3, IPV, Pentavalent3, PCV3
At 9 months,
the baby receives vaccines against Measles, Yellow Fever.
At 12 Months,
the baby receives vaccines against Meningitis.

Immunization for Nigerian Children.

Vaccine against Cervical cancer are give to young girls from 9 years of age and above, as well as women.

What are the Vaccine Preventable Diseases?

According to the World Health Organization, the following are the diseases that can be prevented by adequate vaccination. They include:
1. Cervical cancer: this is a form of cancer that affects the cervix in females. If not discovered early & treated, it can progress to include other organs. Cervical cancer is mostly caused by repeated infections of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is transmissible by sexual intercourse. HPV vaccines are available and they protect against this form of cancer as well as genital warts also caused by the virus. The vaccines target young girls between the age of 9 & 13, before they become sexually active. Read more about cervical cancer & HPV Vaccine here.

2. Cholera: this is a disease that is common in childhood. It is caused by a bacterium known as Vibro Cholerae. It is transmitted by the faeco-oral route through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Characteristic symptoms include rice water stool, diarrhoea leading to dehydration & weakness.

3. Diphtheria: An acute and toxic infection caused by Corynebacterium diphteriae. Transmission is through air droplets or direct contact with infected secretions. It affects both the skin & respiratory system.

4. Ebola: this is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola Virus. It is transmitted by contact with fluid from infected persons or surfaces.

5. Hepatitis B: this is a viral disease that leads to inflammation of the liver. It is caused by Hepatitis B virus. It is transmitted sexual intercourse as well as through blood transfusions.

6. Influenza: A viral infection that attacks the lungs, nose and throat. It is caused by the Influenza virus. Transmission is by air droplets.

7. Japanese encephalitis: An infection that causes swelling of the brain. It is caused by a virus. Transmission is by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

8. Measles: this is a disease that affects the skin, causing red rashes. It is caused by the paramyxovirus virus. Transmission is by contact with infected persons.

9. Meningitis: this is a disease condition that result in inflammation of the covering of the brain & spinal cord known as the meninges. The commonest causative organisms of meningitis are Neisseria, H.influenzae, Streptococcus Pneumonia. Symptoms includes neck stiffness, joint & back pain.

10. Mumps: This is condition that results in painful swelling of the parotid gland, located around the cheek. It is caused by the Mumps virus. It is spread by infected saliva.

11. Pertussis: this is the cause of whooping cough. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella Pertusis. It is transmitted through through air droplets.

12. Pneumonia: this is a disease of the lungs. Commonest causes are Strep pneumonia, mycoplasma pneumonia & chlamydia pneumoniae. Transmission is through air droplets.

13. Polio: this is a disease that affects the nervous system and causes paralysis. It is caused by the polio virus. It is caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. There is still no cure for polio, but it has almost been eradicated using vaccines.

14. Rabies: it is a disease of the nervous system that causes inflammation of the brain. It is caused by the Rabies virus. It is transmitted through the bites of infected animals.

15. Diarrhoea: this is a condition that results in passage of watery stool & loss of fluid. It commonly affects infants between the age of 1 to 5. It is commonly caused by Rotavirus. Transmission is through the ingestion of contaminated food or water.

16. Rubella: it is a disease that affects the skin. It is also known as German measles. It is caused by Rubella virus. Transmission is by contact with secretions (saliva) of an infected persons.

17. Tetanus: this is a disease condition of the nervous system that affects the muscle. It is caused by the bacteria Clostridum tetani. It is transmitted through the soil/formites.

18. Tuberculosis: this is a disease of the lungs & respiratory system. It is caused by the bacterium, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It is transmitted through air droplets.

19. Typhoid: it is a disease of the Gastrointestinal tract. It is causes by the bacterium, Salmonella Typhi. It is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food or water.

20. Chicken Pox: this is disease that manifests as pox in the skin. It is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) or Herpes simplex 3. It is transmitted through contact with infected persons.

21. Yellow Fever: it is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever. It is caused by the yellow fever virus. It is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquito.

22. Malaria: According to the World Health Organization, Clinical trials for a Malaria vaccine is already in progress in kenya, Ghana & Malawi and is showing very promising results so far.

What are the Benefits of Vaccines

To the Individual: It protects individuals against illness, disability and possible death from the disease.
To the Community: It makes it difficult for the pathogen to spread through that community. The resistance of the community as a whole, its herd
immunity, is increased.
To the Government: They are able to prevent many infectious diseases and so improve quality of life At comparatively little cost, thereby freeing resources for other health care priorities.

Yes, #VaccinesWork! Spread the message!


  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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