What immunisation/vaccinations does my child need?
Before birth, a baby receives natural immunity to some diseases from their mother. But this immunity begins to wear off weeks after they are born for some diseases, and months for others. The NHS recommends that babies receive their first immunisation vaccines when a baby is around 8 weeks old, at 12 weeks, 16 weeks and others just after their first birthday.
Here is a list of all the vaccinations your child will need and the recommended age to have them:
United Kingdom's NHS Vaccination Schedule for children under 1 year
- 6-in-1 vaccine
- RV (rotavirus) vaccine
- MenB vaccine
- 6-in-1 vaccine – 2nd dose
- PCV (pneumococcal) vaccine
- RV (rotavirus) vaccine – 2nd dose
- 6-in-1 vaccine – 3rd dose
- MenB vaccine – 2nd dose
- Hib/MenC vaccine given as a single jab containing vaccines against meningitis C (1st dose) and Hib (4th dose)
- MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella), given as a single jab
- PCV (pneumococcal) – 2nd dose
- MenB vaccine – 3rd dose
What are the different baby vaccines for?
6 in 1 vaccine: This is given to babies three times when they are 8, 12 and 16 weeks old. Babies need three doses of the vaccine to build strong immunity to the various conditions that the vaccine protects them from. Namely:
- Hepatitis B
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
This injection is given to your baby in the thigh.
RV (rotavirus) vaccine: The Rotavirus vaccine is not an injection but rather a liquid given straight into the baby’s mouth that they can swallow. The first dose is usually given at 8 weeks old. It’s given to babies in 2 separate doses, 4 weeks apart. Rotavirus is a very infectious tummy bug that causes diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.
MenB vaccine: The MenB vaccine protects your little one against meningococcal group B bacteria that can cause serious illnesses such as meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning). The MenB vaccine is given as an injection at 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year. Your baby may be irritable with a fever after this vaccination and have soreness at the place where the injection is given, on their thigh. To reduce the risk of your child from getting a high temperature, it is recommended to give your baby children’s paracetamol after their vaccination, which your nurse will give advice on during the appointment.
PCV vaccine: The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV, builds protection against 13 different types of pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause sepsis (blood poisoning), pneumonia and meningitis. The vaccine is also given as an injection to babies in 2 doses at 3 months and 1 year old. It may cause some mild swelling, soreness and fever. Children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen such as Nurofen for children for babies over 3 months (weighing over 5kg) can be given for fever.
Hib/MenC vaccine: This vaccine is given to 1-year-old children to give them extra protection against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningitis C. Both of these serious infections can cause sepsis and meningitis. Side effects from this vaccination are usually mild and don’t last long.
MMR vaccine: The MMR vaccine is the best protection for your baby against 3 serious illnesses called measles, mumps and rubella (also known as German Measles). These highly infectious illnesses can spread easily amongst unvaccinated people. It’s important to check if you have been vaccinated if you are planning a pregnancy, to avoid problems caused by these illnesses. The MMR vaccine is given in 2 doses, firstly when your little one is a year old and then before they attend school at 3 years and 4 months old.
Why does my baby need the same vaccine more than once?
The immunity that babies receive from their mother at birth, wears off within weeks or months. That’s why immunization vaccines are given to babies to prepare their immune systems to help fight off diseases that could kill them or cause long-lasting health problems. The UK vaccination schedule is designed to help protect your baby from serious illnesses. More than one dose of some vaccinations is needed to give your little one longer protection.
Is it safe for my baby to have more than one vaccination at once?
You might feel that giving too many vaccines at once will be too much for your baby’s little body. But your little one is already protected from many germs when they’re born, which makes their immune system strong enough to cope with more than one vaccine at the same time. Studies have shown that is it safe to have more than one vaccination at the same time.
Will my baby have side effects after the vaccination?
Although all medicines can cause side effects, vaccines are the best way to protect your child from dangerous diseases. Some babies may have side effects such as pain, redness and swelling where the injection was given, but this will slowly disappear on its own. If your baby has a fever after vaccinations, you can them ibuprofen such as Nurofen for Children for babies older than 3 months (and weighing over 5kg) or liquid paracetamol, which can help to bring down their fever. It is recommended that babies are given paracetamol after the MenB vaccine to reduce the risk of a high temperature. Also, ensure to give them plenty to drink and ensure they are not wearing too many layers. If your little one cries or seems irritable, your cuddles will soon settle them.
If you have any questions or worries regarding the UK baby vaccination schedule or side effects, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health matters for further information or medical advice, please speak to your GP or a Pharmacist.