Children in the UK are invited to attend regular appointments to have immunisations against a number of diverse diseases and illnesses. Parents are told at what time and location they need to take their little one by their GP surgery or local Primary Care Trust. The vaccination schedule is designed to protect children against diseases. The vaccinations are recommended at specific times but if your infant has not been vaccinated, it is not too late and you should contact your GP. It is better to have them vaccinated later than planned rather than not at all.

Which vaccines are given when?

There are a various types of vaccines given to babies and young children and you will be advised when your baby needs their injections. Here is the current vaccination schedule for children:

2 months old:

3 months old:

  • 5-in-1 jab (DTaP/IPV/Hib) second dose.
  • Meningitis C.

4 months old:

  • 5-in-1 jab (DTaP/IPV/Hib) third dose.
  • Meningitis C second dose.
  • Pneumococcal infection second dose.

12-13 months old:

  • Meningitis C third dose and Hib fourth dose (administered as a solitary injection).
  • MMR (mumps, measles and rubella administered as a solo injection).
  • Pneumococcal infection third dose.

3 years and 4 months (or shortly after)

  • MMR second dose (administered as a solo injection).
  • 4-in-1 pre-school booster (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio).

12-13 years:

  • HPV: protects against cervical cancer and involves 3 injections within a six month period.

13-18 years:

  • 3-in-1 booster for diphtheria, tetanus and polio.

What if my child is ill?

A proportion of people may fret about their child having an injection if they are ill, but in the majority of cases there is no reason to delay vaccinations. If your youngster has a cough or cold, it will be fine for them to have their injections, but check with your GP or nurse if you are worried or unsure.

Are childhood vaccinations safe?

All vaccinations used in the UK undergo rigorous testing and analysis to make certain that they are safe. It is ordinary to develop very mild by-products after having injections, but the advantages far overshadow the risks and without vaccinations, diseases such as tetanus, measles and mumps would be much more common and thousands of people could lose their lives every year. If you have concerns about vaccinations do not hesitate to talk to your GP, as they will be able to answer your questions and explain why it is so important for children to have immunisations.

Preparing for an appointment

You will be sent a letter detailing when and where your child is having their injections. If a parent or guardian cannot take the child, contact your GP surgery and inform them who will be bringing the child. Make sure you take your child’s red book with you. When you go to the surgery or the health clinic, your GP or nurse will ask about the child’s general health and explain what injections they are having and which illnesses they protect against. They will then give the injection and record the date and vaccination information in the child’s red book. If you cannot make an appointment, ring the surgery and re-schedule.

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