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Children's Immunisations

Around the world, 13 million people die from infectious disease every year. Over half these people are children under the age of five. Most of these deaths could be prevented with immunisation.

Because of immunisations, many serious diseases have almost disappeared from the UK, but they are still around in other countries and they could come back.

What is immunisation?
Why do we need immunisation?
How do we know that the vaccines are safe?
I am a bit worried that my child will be upset by having an injection.
How will  my child feel afterwards?
Are there any reasons why my child should not be immunised?

What is Diphtheria?
What is tetanus?
What is pertussis (whooping cough)?
What is Hib?
What is Polio?
What is meningitis?

Routine childhood immunisations schedule

University of Oxford - Facts about vaccines
They answer some of the most common questions, concerns and comments that people have about vaccines.


What is immunisation?

Immunisation is a way of protecting ourselves from serious disease. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are more able to fight those disease we come into contact with them.
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Why do we need immunisation?

Our bodies have a natural defence system against disease. This is called the immune system. The immune system produces substances called antibodies which fight off disease and infection.

There are some diseases that can kill children or cause lasting damage to their health, and sometimes your child's immune system needs help to fight those diseases. Immunisation provides that help.

Protecting your child against a variety of serious illnesses is simple, safe and free of charge. 
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How do we know that the vaccines are safe?

Before anyone can be given a vaccine, it has to go through many tests to check that it is safe and that it works. These checks continue even after a vaccine has been introduced. Only vaccines that have passed all the safety tests are used. Research around the world shows that immunisation is the safest way to protect your child's health.
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I am a bit worried that my child will be upset by having an injection.

Your child may cry and be upset for a few minutes, but they will usually settle down after a cuddle. Many children don't get upset at all. If you don't want to be in the room when your child has the injection, tell the nurse before hand. Some parents like to take a friend or partner to hold their child during the injection.
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How will  my child feel afterwards?

All children are different. Most will not have any side effects. Some children will:

arrow get a little redness or swelling where they had the injection. This will slowly disappear on its own; or 

arrow feel a bit irritable and unwell and develop a temperature (fever).

You may give your child a dose of Paracetamol liquid if they get a fever.

Very occasionally, children can have allergic reactions straight after immunisation. when treated quickly, they will recover completely. The people who give immunisations are trained to deal with allergic reactions.
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Are there any reasons why my child should not be immunised?

There are very few reasons why a child should not be immunised. But you should let your health visitor, doctor or nurse know if your child:
arrow has a high fever
arrow has had a bad reaction to any other immunisation
arrow has had treatment for cancer
arrow has a severe allergy to eggs
arrow has a bleeding disorder
arrow has had convulsions (fits)

You should also let them know if your child or any other close family member has an illness that affects the immune system such as HIV or AIDS; or is taking medicine that affects the immune system.
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What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can quickly cause problems with breathing. it can damage the heart and nervous system and in severe cases can kill.
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What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a painful disease that affects the muscles and can cause breathing problems. it is caused by germs that are found in soil and manure and can get into the body through open cuts or burns. Tetanus affects the nervous the nervous system and, if not treated  can kill.
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What is pertussis (whooping cough)?

Whooping cough is a disease that can cause long bouts of coughing and choking which make it hard to breathe. it can last for upto 10 weeks. It is not usually serious in older children, but it can be very serious in babies under one year old.
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What is Hib?

Hib is an infection that can cause a number of major illnesses like blood poisoning, pneumonia and meningitis. All of these illnesses can kill if they are not treated quickly.

The Hib vaccine protects your child against one type of meningitis (Hib) only. It does not protect against any other type of meningitis.
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What is polio?

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can permanently paralyse the muscles. If it affects the chest muscles, polio can kill. The virus is passed in the stool (poo) of people with polio or people who have just been immunised against polio.

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What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain. The same germs that cause meningitis may cause septicaemia (blood poisoning). Babies and young people aged 15 to 17 are most at risk of getting meningitis or septicaemia from a type of bacteria called meningococcal group C. The MenC vaccine protects against infection by meningococcal group C bacteria. The MenC vaccine does not protect against meningitis caused by other bacteria or by viruses.
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Schedule of routine childhood immunisations from September 2015

When to immunise

What is given

How it is given

Two months

Five in one (Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular pertussis,  Polio and Hib)

One injection

Pneumococcal One injection
Rotavirus By mouth
Men B vaccine One injection
Three months Five in one (2nd) One injection
Meningitis C One injection
Rotavirus (2nd) By mouth
Four months Five in one (3rd) One injection
Pneumococcal (2nd) One injection
Men B vaccine (2nd) One injection
12 to 13 months Combined Hib/meningitis C vaccine One injection
Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) One injection
Pneumococcal booster (3rd) One injection
Men B vaccine (3rd) One injection
2 and 3 year olds Influenza Nasal annually
Three years and 4 months to five years old (pre-school) Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular pertussis, Polio (dTaP/IPV or DTaP/IPV) One injection

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) (2nd)

One injection

Girls 12 to 13yrs HPV Gardasil
 
3 Injections at 0m, 1m and 6months intervals
13 to 18 years old Diphtheria, tetanus and Polio (Td/IPV) One injection
Meningitis ACWY One injection

 

Last updated  19 March 2017

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