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Baby and Childhood Immunisations

Vaccinations protect you, your child and family from many serious diseases. They help protect other people who can’t have vaccinations themselves too. Some people get mild side-effects, but these usually don’t last long.

Vaccinations are safe and sometimes can get rid of a disease totally. 

  • Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases.
  • It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and treating them.
  • Once your immune system knows how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years.
  • It’s best to have vaccinations on time, but you can still catch up on most vaccines if you miss them.
  • Babies have their first vaccinations at 8 weeks, then they have them every four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. It’s safe to give babies and children several vaccines at a time.
  • Babies usually have vaccinations in their thighs.
  • Don’t forget to take your ‘red book’ to vaccination appointments.

How vaccines work

When your child has a vaccine they develop antibodies to protect against the disease. After this, if your child comes into contact with the disease, their body will recognise it and know how to fight against it with those antibodies.

  • 6-in-1 - 1st Dose

    This protects against diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B, Polio, Tetanus and Whooping Cough.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

    Pneumococcal (PCV) - 1st Dose

    This is sometimes known as the pneumonia vaccine and protects against some forms of blood poisoning and meningitis too.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

    Rotavirus - 1st Dose

    This is given as a liquid straight into the baby’s mouth. It protects against a highly infectious and distressing tummy bug.

    Your baby needs two doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

    Men B - 1st Dose

    This vaccine can prevent serious meningitis and blood poisoning, which can cause brain damage or even death.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

  • 6-in-1 - 2nd Dose

    This protects against diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B, Polio, Tetanus and Whooping Cough.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

    Rotavirus - 2nd Dose

    This is given as a liquid straight into the baby’s mouth. It protects against a highly infectious and distressing tummy bug.

    Your baby needs two doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

     

  • 6-in-1 - 3rd Dose

    This protects against diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B, Polio, Tetanus and Whooping Cough.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

    Pneumococcal (PCV) - 2nd Dose

    This is sometimes known as the pneumonia vaccine and protects against some forms of blood poisoning and meningitis too.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

    Men B - 2nd Dose

    This vaccine can prevent serious meningitis and blood poisoning, which can cause brain damage or even death.

    Your baby needs three doses to ensure they develop strong immunity.

  • Hib/MenC

    MMR (1st)

    Pneumococcal (PCV) (3rd)

    Men B (3rd)

  • Flu vaccine

  • MMR (2nd)

    4-in-1 pre-school booster

  • HPV Vaccine

  • 3-in-1 teenage booster

    MenACWY

  • Do:

    • Remember to take your child's personal child health record (PCHR) to appointments. This is usually called the "Red Book".
    • Call the practice or clinic to let them know if someone else is taking your child for vaccinations – or give the person a letter with your contact details.
    • Dress your baby in clothes that are easy to remove. Babies under 12 months have injections in the thigh.
    • Dress toddlers and older children in loose or short sleeves tops. They have their injections in the arm.
    • Try to stay calm during the vaccination. It's natural to worry but it might make your child anxious and restless.
    • Let your child know what's going to happen in simple language. For example you could say "you may feel a sharp scratch but that will go away very fast".
    • Hold your child on your knee during the injection. If you're worried about seeing injections you could ask a nurse or another member of staff to hold them for you.

    Don’t:

    • Rush to get to your appointment. Giving yourself plenty of time can help you and your child avoid feeling stressed and anxious.
    • Be worried about speaking to the nurse or doctor, they can answer any questions you have about vaccination.
  • Your baby or child may cry for a little while after a vaccination, but they should feel better after a cuddle. Sometimes the area where the needle goes in can be sore and red for 2 to 3 days. This should go away on its own.

    Some children may also develop a high temperature (fever) but this can usually be managed at home (LINK TO MANAGING A TEMP AT HOME?.

  • Your baby can still have their vaccinations if:

    • they have a minor illness without a high temperature – such as a cold
    • they have allergies, asthma, eczema or food intolerances
    • they were born prematurely

    It's really important that premature babies still have their vaccinations from 8 weeks old. They may be at higher risk of catching infections if you wait.

    It may seem very early to give a vaccination to such a tiny baby. But many scientific studies have shown that it's a good time to give them vaccines.

    Vaccines do not:

    • cause autism – studies have found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism
    • overload or weaken the immune system – it's safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this reduces the amount of injections they need
    • cause allergies or any other conditions – all the current evidence tells us that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating
    • contain mercury (thiomersal)
    • contain any ingredients that cause harm in such small amounts – but speak to your doctor if you have any known allergies such as eggs or gelatine
  • Measles and mumps are starting to appear again in England, even though the MMR vaccine is safe and protects against both diseases.

    Measles and mumps cases in England have nearly doubled in recent years:

    A table showing how many cases of measles and mumps there have been in England in 2016 and 2018

    Year       Measles    Mumps

    2016       530         573

    2018       970         1061

    If 95% of children receive the MMR vaccine, it's possible to get rid of measles. However, measles, mumps and rubella can quickly spread again if fewer than 90% of people are vaccinated.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

For information about school age children, you can contact the Immunisation Service on 0300 555 5055 and then choose the option for Norfolk. Our opening hours are 8am-4pm, Monday-Friday. Currently you are unable to leave a voicemail message, instead please email: ccs.norfolk.immunisationteam@nhs.net.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

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