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Childhood immunisations
vaccinating your baby
Childhood immunisations
Between the ages of 8 weeks and 15 months your child will be invited to have DTaP/IPV/Hip, MenC and MMR vaccines. It is your choice to have your child immunised however vaccination is recommended because it will give your baby the best protection against serious diseases some of which are fatal.
DTaP/IPV/Hip vaccine
The DTaP/IPV/Hip vaccine will protect your child against the following five diseases - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (whooping cough), polio (with Inactivated Polio Vaccine) and Haemophilus influenzae type b) It is a new vaccine which is given to babies when they are two, three and four months old and unlike the old vaccine the polio part is given in the same injection rather than in the mouth.
The first symptom of Diphtheria is usually a sore throat however it can quickly cause breathing problems, damage to the heart and nervous system and in severe cases it can be fatal. Before the introduction of the vaccine Diphtheria claimed up to 5,000 lives per year in the UK.
This is caused when germs that are found in soil and manure get in to the body through open cuts or burns. It is a painful disease that affects the muscles and can make it difficult to breath. Tetanus also affects the nervous system and can be fatal.
Pertussis (whooping cough)
Although not usually serious in older children, whooping cough can be very serious even fatal in babies under one. It causes prolonged bouts of coughing and choking making it very difficult to breathe and can last for up to 10 weeks.
This virus attacks the nervous system and can leave muscles permanently paralysed. If the chest muscles or the brain are affected then it can be fatal.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Hib is an infection that can lead to various major illnesses including blood poisoning, pneumonia and meningitis all of which can kill if they are not detected in the early stages. The Hib vaccine protects against only one type of meningitis (Hib). It does not protect against any other type of meningitis.
After being immunised with the DTaP/IPV/Hip vaccine your baby may experience some mild side affect the following are normal:
Up to 48 hours after the injection your baby might be miserable.
Mild fever.
A small lump where your baby had the injection, this may last for a few weeks but should disappear slowly.
If you notice any other reaction or have any concerns talk to your doctor, health visitor or practise nurse.
MenC vaccine
This vaccine will protect your baby against infection by 'meningococcal group C' bacteria. This is a type of bacteria that can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). The MenC vaccine does not protect against meningitis caused by any other type of bacteria or by viruses. Since this vaccine was introduced the number of babies under 12 months with group C disease has fallen by about 95%.
Meningitis and Septicaemia
The same germs can cause both meningitis and septicaemia, meningitis is inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the brain and septicaemia is blood poisoning. Both are very serious and it is important that you can recognise the early symptoms as a baby with meningitis or septicaemia can become seriously ill within hours. If your child develops one or more of the following symptoms seek urgent medical help.
 In babies...
A high pitched moaning cry.
Refusing feeds.
Being difficult to wake.
Pale or blotchy skin.
Red or purple spots that does not fade under pressure (hold a clear drinking glass against the spots so that you can see if the rash fades or looses colour).
 In older children...
A stiff neck (ask your child to kiss his knee or touch his knee with his forehead).
Sleepiness or confusion.
A very bad headache.
Aversion to bright lights.
Red or purple spots that does not fade under pressure (hold a clear drinking glass against the spots so that you can see if the rash fades or looses colour).
After being immunised with the MenC vaccine your baby may have redness and swelling where he was injected, about 50% of all babies become irritable and about 1 in 20 could get a mild fever.
MMR vaccine
The MMR Vaccine protects your child against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German measles), they should have the first dose at around 13 months old and a second dose before starting school.
Almost every one who catches measles will have a very high fever, a rash and be generally unwell. It is caused by a very infectious virus and usually lasts about five to ten days in children and longer in adults. Complications affect one in every 15 children and include chest infections, fits, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and brain damage. In very severe cases measles can kill.
The virus that causes mumps lasts about seven to ten days and symptoms include fever, headache and painful swollen glands in the face, neck and jaw. It can result in permanent deafness, viral meningitis and encephalitis. Rarely, it causes painful swelling of the testicles in males and ovaries in females. It is very infectious and is spread through sneezing and coughing.
This is also known as German measles and is caused by a virus which is as infectious as the flu. The symptoms include a short lived rash, swollen glands and a sore throat, and although it is usually very mild in children and can go unnoticed, it is very serious for unborn babies. It can seriously damage their sight, hearing, heart and brain. Rubella infection in the first three months of pregnancy causes damage to the baby in nine out of ten cases, this condition is called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) and in the five years before the MMR vaccine was introduced about 43 babies were born every year in the UK with CRS.
The measles part of the vaccine starts to work about six to ten days after being injected and some children (about one in ten) develop a fever, some develop a measles-like rash and go off their food. About one in every 1000 immunised children may have a fit caused by fever however this is five times more likely if the child is not immunised and catches measles.
About three weeks after the immunisation the mumps part of the vaccine starts to work very rarely children may get mumps-like symptoms (fever and swollen glands).
Six weeks after immunisation in very rare cases children may get a rash of bruise like spots caused by the measles or rubella part of the immunisation if this happens take your child to see the doctor to be checked.
There have been stories in the media in recent years about a link to Autism with the MMR vaccine. This has caused concern among parents some of whom have decided against having their child immunised however independent experts from around the world have found no credible scientific evidence for such a link. There is a large amount of evidence that shows there is no link. If you are worried about this speak to your GP or health visitor and ask them for more information about MMR.
Vaccinations covered
Pertussis (whooping cough)
MenC Vaccine
Meningitis and Septicaemia
MMR Vaccine
Whooping cough can be
very serious even fatal
in babies under one
Give your baby the
best protection against
serious diseases some
of which are fatal
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