Parents in the United Kingdom are routinely offered a range of vaccinations for their children to protect them, and others, from the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.
The vaccinations, and the ages at which they are normally given, can be found on the NHS Website and the schedule below:
Officially referred to as the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccination, this protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and the haemophilus type B flu which is commonly known as hib. It is injected into babies’ thigh muscles in three doses at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. (An additional boost for the Hib vaccine is administered at 12-13 months as part of the combined Hib/MenC booster, see below.)
This protects against pneumonia, septicaemia, meningitis (other than meningitis C) and other infections caused by the streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium, which present a heightened risk to children under the age of two. The vaccine is administered in a three-jab course when the child is two months, four months and 12-13 months old.
Meningitis C Vaccine
The MenC jab, given at three months and four months, protects against the virulent meningitis C and septicaemia strains caused by the meningococcal group C bacteria. (An additional boost for this vaccine is administered at 12-13 months as part of the combined Hib/MenC booster, see below.) Since this vaccine was introduced in 1999, there has been a 99% drop in the number of lab-confirmed cases in people under the age of 20.
Hib/MenC Booster Vaccine
This booster against hib and meninigitis C is given at 12-13 months, together with the pneumococcal and MMR vaccines.
This vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. It’s administered at 12-13 months, together with the Hib/MenC booster and pneumococcal vaccines, and again at about 3 years 4 months of age or soon thereafter.
Officially known as the DtaP/IPV booster, this protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio, and is given together with the MMR vaccine at about 3 years 4 months of age or shortly thereafter.
In addition to these routine immunisations, there’s a range of vaccines available for babies and children who may be at special risk, including tuberculosis, flu, and hepatitis B.