Routine immunizations keep your children safe from several dangerous and potentially fatal diseases. While vaccinations can vary by country, Japan has designated several key vaccinations as routine for children of certain ages. See a copy of the schedule for routine vaccinations in Japan here.
Why are some shots designated as routine vaccinations in Japan and others are just recommended? By making these routine vaccinations easily accessible through the universal healthcare system, the spread of serious diseases can be limited and epidemic outbreaks much less likely to occur.
Here is the list of eight routine vaccinations in Japan as stated in the child immunization schedule.
- BCG (or Bacillus Calmette–Guérin): This is a vaccine for tuberculosis, a bacterial disease in which nodules grow within the lungs, impairing function. Only one shot is needed before your child’s first birthday.
- PCV (肺炎球菌 or Haien Kyukin): Known as the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, it protects children against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, which may cause several illnesses, including pneumonia. Three shots are required within the first 12 months of your child’s life, beginning after two months.
- DTaP-IPV (四種混合 or Yonsyu Kongou): AKA the Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis-Inactivated Polio Vaccine is one vaccine for the prevention of diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough) and polio that requires three shots beginning between three and 12 months of age.
- MR (麻疹・風疹 or Mashin, Fushin): Another combination vaccine, this shot protects children against measles and rubella, which are two viral infections that used to be very common among children. Only one shot is needed between one and two years of age. The combination MR Vaccine is an alternative used in Japan to the MMR vaccine.
- Japanese Encephalitis (日本脳炎 or Nihonnouen): Japanese encephalitis virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. Children typically receive this vaccine before the age of eight.
- Chickenpox (or Varicella vaccine): The varicella-zoster virus is responsible for chickenpox, a highly contagious ailment that causes a red, itchy spots to appear in a rash-like manner. While it used to be a condition parents expected their children to contract, this vaccine can prevent it with a high success rate. Consult your doctor for the best time to administer this vaccine.
- Hib (or ヒブ): Haemophilus influenzae type b is a type of bacteria responsible for serious infections like meningitis and pneumonia. This vaccine serves as protection against this bacteria. Three shots are required, beginning between two and seven months in age.
- Hepatitis B: Administered between the ages of two and nine months, this vaccine prevents this highly serious viral infection that affects the liver, often resulting in chronic disease.
Based on your insurance, your doctor can help you plan the best treatment schedule for your child. Staying informed and on schedule with your child’s routine vaccinations in Japan will help you breathe easier as they continue to grow.