Hong Kong Journal of Paediatrics

Volume 8 Number 3, July 2003

Immunisation: Opportunities and Challenges

DM Roberton


Immunisation provides protection from infective diseases that have previously caused major mortality and morbidity worldwide. Protection from vaccine preventable diseases should be available to all children globally. During the last two decades, global initiatives have led to significant improvement in vaccine availability for all children, but there is still much to be done. New vaccines against encapsulated Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib) have led to major changes in the prevalence of diseases due to Hib in developed countries. Further recent developments with conjugate pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines offer great potential for the future. Acellular pertussis vaccines have reduced reactogenicity in comparison with whole cell pertussis vaccines, and appear likely to have better long term efficacy. Vaccines against rotavirus, RSV, parainfluenza and influenza for use in childhood are in development. There is the real possibility of eradicating infectious diseases such as poliomyelitis and measles in the foreseeable future. Future challenges are to provide vaccines at low cost and in a stable form so that they can benefit all children globally. (HK J Paediatr (new series) 2003;8:237-241)

Key words : Childhood; Immunisation; Vaccines

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