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Immunization

Going the extra mile in Laos

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Many of the women first receive tetanus injections, a vaccine which has helped cut worldwide maternal deaths from the disease by two-thirds since 1990. Today, 25-year-old Wan has brought her six-month-old baby Pon for the last of three injections to immunize him against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. The series of immunizations known as DPT1, DPT2 and DPT3 can prevent diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus, diseases that still kill 600,000 children and afflict millions of others every year in developing countries. To be fully protected, children must receive three doses of the vaccine at regular intervals in the first few months of life. Effective communication is critical in assuring that women bring their newborns over several months to receive all three doses.