By Dr Phionah Atuhebwe
It’s high time I wrote this before you are also taken advantage of. I have received a lot of concerns about primary schools asking parents to pay for their children to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Now this is the truth as long as your child was born in Uganda. Hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in Uganda’s Routine Immunisation Schedule (the vaccines your babies receive in their first few months of life that bring fevers and you call me the whole night) in 2002.
It is part of the Pentavalent vaccine (DPT-HepB-Hib). Pentavalent vaccine is a combined vaccine with five individual vaccines conjugated into one intended to actively protect people from 5 potentially deadly diseases. These are:
2. Pertussis (causes whooping cough),
4. Hepatitis B
5. Haemophilus Influenza type B (a bacterium that causes meningitis, pneumonia and ear infections).
Therefore, if your child is 15 years and below and you were responsible enough to take them for Immunisation, they have received the Hepatitis B vaccine. They don’t require further doses.
How about you? As an adult, go for testing, and when found negative, get the 3 doses of Hep B vaccine. Hepatitis B is a very deadly virus that attacks your liver and could end up in liver cancer. It also spreads through body fluids just like HIV.
Dr Atuhebwe is a medical practitioner and public health specialist