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One of the most important things that a parent can do for their child is to make sure that they have all their routine childhood vaccinations. It's the most effective way of keeping them protected against infectious diseases. Ideally, kids should have their jabs at the right age to protect them as early as possible and minimise the risk of infection. Most side effects from vaccination are mild. It's quite usual for people to have redness or swelling in the place where they had the injection, but this soon goes away. Younger children or babies may be a bit irritable or unwell or have a slight temperature. Again, this goes away within one or two days.

 You should postpone your child's jab if:

  • Your child is ill and has a fever (high temperature). This is to avoid the fever being linked with the vaccination, or the vaccination making your child's fever worse.
  • Your child has had a bad reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine. It doesn't rule out having a further dose, but it's a good idea to speak to your GP, practice nurse or health visitor. Your child shouldn't have a vaccine if they've had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction (a severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the vaccine or a component of it.

Your child shouldn't have 'live' vaccines like the BCG (tuberculosis vaccination) or MMR if:

  • Your child is taking high-dose steroid tablets or is taking lower doses either alongside other drugs or over a long time. If you're not sure, check with your GP.
  • Your child is being treated for cancer with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or has had these treatments within the last six months.
  • Your child has had an organ transplant and is on immunosuppressant drugs.
  • Your child has had a bone marrow transplant and finished all immunosuppressive therapy within the last 12 months.
  • Your child's immune system is lowered. If you're not sure, check with your GP.

The vaccination schedule

2 months:

5-in-1 (DTaP/IPV/Hib). This single jab contains vaccines to protect against five separate diseases - diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib, a bacterial infection that can cause severe pneumonia or meningitis in young children).

Pneumococcal infection

3 months:

5-in-1, second dose (DTaP/IPV/Hib)

4 months:

5-in-1, third dose (DTaP/IPV/Hib)

Pneumococcal infection, second dose

Between 12 and 13 months:

Hib/Men C booster. Given as a single jab containing meningitis C, third dose and Hib, fourth dose.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), given as a single jab

Pneumococcal infection, third dose

3 years and 4 months, or soon after:

MMR second jab

4-in-1 pre-school booster (DtaP/IPV). Given as a single jab containing vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio.

Around 12-13 years:

HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer (girls only). Three jabs are given within six months

Around 13-18 years:

3-in-1 teenage booster (Td/IPV). Given as a single jab which contains vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and polio.

The vaccines

DTaP/IPV/Hib or 5-in-1 vaccine

Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Hib (haemophilus influenza type B).

Given at 2, 3 and 4 months of age.

More about the 5-in-1 vaccine:  http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/5-in-1-infant-dtapipvhib-vaccine.aspx

Protects against some types of pneumococcal infection.

Given at 2, 4 and 12-13 months of age.

More about the pneumococcal jab: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/pneumococcal-vaccination.aspx

Meningitis C (MenC)

Protects against meningitis C (meningococcal type C).

Given at 3 and 4 months of age.

More about the MenC jab:  http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/men-c-vaccine.aspx

This PHE leaflet has more information about the changes to the Men C vaccination programme (PDF, 280kb)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525375/MenC_flyer_for_parents_to_explain_the_schedule_change_May16.pdf

Hib/MenC (booster)

Protects against haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) and meningitis C.

Given at:12-13 months of age.

More about the Hib/MenC booster: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/hib-men-C-booster-vaccine.aspx

Protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

Given at 12-13 months and at 3 years and 4 months of age, or sometime thereafter.

More about the MMR jab: 

DTaP/IPV (or dTaP/IPV) 'pre-school' booster

Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio.

Given at 3 years and 4 months of age or shortly thereafter.

More about the DTaP/IPV

pre-school booster: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/4-in-1-pre-school-dtap-ipv-booster.aspx

BCG (tuberculosis) vaccination

(optional - offered to children in higher risk areas such as inner cities. In Manchester, BCG is offered to all children shortly after birth)

Protects against tuberculosis (TB).

Who needs it?

Babies and children who have a high chance of coming into contact with tuberculosis.

Given from birth to 16 years of age.

More about the BCG vaccine: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/bcg-tuberculosis-TB-vaccine.aspx

Choose care at home if...

  • Your child's vaccinations are up to date

Choose your Health Visitor or GP if...

  • Your child is approaching their next vaccination date and you need to make an appointment
  • You think your child might have missed a vaccination
  • You need any information or advice about your child's vaccinations

Call 999 A&E if...

  • There are no reasons why you should need to go to A&E for problems with vaccinations
  • A&E is for urgent, life-threatening illness and injury

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