IVACG: Delivery of Vitamin A Supplements With DPT/Polio and Measles Immunization

Alnwick D, Arthur P, Dary O, Davidson FR, Mejia L, Reddy V, Smitasiri S, Sommer A, West C, West KP

The benefits of vitamin A supplementation to children above six months of age have been clearly shown, and this has spurred vitamin A-deficiency control initiatives around the world. Young infant supplementation with 25,000 IU vitamin A is safe. The most frequently reported side effect, bulging of the anterior fontanel, is benign and transient, and currently there is no evidence of associated long-term neurological deficit. There also is no indication that supplementation at this time will reduce seroconversion to DPT and polio immunizations. However, supplementation with 25,000 IU of vitamin A at the time of each DPT/polio immunization does not produce a sustained improvement in vitamin A status beyond six months of age. To achieve this, it will be necessary to provide additional vitamin A (100,000 IU) at six months of age, and or increase the size and frequency of the dose, an issue that is currently under consideration.

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