Okay, so last time I talked about the different infections prevented by the childhood vaccinations given during the first year of life. This time I’m going to talk about those infections prevented by vaccinations given later in childhood.
There have been a lot of changes to the childhood vaccination program in the UK with the latest changes occurring in April of this year. So I thought it would be a good idea to revise the latest guidelines and discuss why we vaccinate against each particular organism as many people often have the wrong idea about the disease we are trying to prevent.
Gone are the days when we became little pink pin cushions on only a few occasions as children; the new schedule is quite complex with immunisations against 17 different microorganisms (18 if you are a girl) and that’s not counting the fact that the Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine actually covers 13 different subtypes of the bacterium. The schedule consists of 16 different injections plus 2 oral and 8 intranasal vaccines. That’s a lot of vaccines so it is important to understand why we are subjecting our children to this hefty regimen.
A recent conversation got me thinking… a rare occurrence some would say… about the identification of bacteria. The patient I was discussing had two bacteria growing in his blood cultures and we weren’t sure if both were genuine or whether one was a skin contaminant. There was both a Staphylococcus spp. and a Proteus mirabilis growing, but the P. mirabilis was growing all over the Staphylococcus spp. preventing its further identification. I suggested putting up a CLED agar plate (see later in the blog) and a number of people looked at me like I was crazy… and whilst I do occasionally come up with some crazy ideas this really wasn’t one of the them. To understand my logic you have to know a bit about P. mirabilis, especially its laboratory identification. Let me explain further…