Thursdays, as you may remember, are my favorite days at the clinic because it’s vaccination day! Today was my last Thursday (there’s only one more left in my trip and I’ll be on safari during it) and it was just as fun as the other times!
One interesting thing I’ve noticed is when a newborn baby comes for the BCG vaccine (subdermal) and the first dose of the polio vaccine (oral), the mom cringes and looks away when I pull out the needle. Now that I’ve done these for a few weeks, I know the oral vaccine doesn’t hurt since it’s just two drops of liquid and the baby usually sleeps through it. The BCG vaccine is a small needle with 0.05 mL of the vaccine and it goes in the arm, right under the skin. Because it’s not an intramuscular injection like the other ones, it doesn’t hurt. The baby usually squirms a bit when it first goes in, but keeps sleeping throughout. But by the looks on the moms’ faces, you’d think I was about to cut the kid’s arm off! They’re usually way more nervous and conditioned to see a needle and think pain than the newborn is. I’m sure this is a universal reaction when babies first get vaccinated 🙂
Here’s where I hang out on Thursdays! The chair is where mom and baby sit, the big blue freezer box has the vaccines, and the exam table is my area to prepare the vaccines. If the power goes out (as it does routinely), I pull the chair close the window to get some light and the generator kicks on for the blue freezer box.
This is probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen since being here – moms use a piece of cloth and wrap it around themselves to hold the child on their back. The kids (as young as 2 months or so) know to stay still and hang on the mom’s back while she gets the cloth ready to wrap around.
Close up look at my prep station: from left to right – the clear bucket is the trash box, the red box holds cotton for bleeding and water/sodium chloride for mixing up powdered vaccines (ex. BCG), the different sized syringes are next, and the gray box is an icebox that keeps a few vaccines cold as we use them repeatedly through the day (so we don’t keep opening up the giant freezer box).