Immunisation Information for Parents
You’ve been preparing for the arrival of a child and now you are a parent or a carer!
There’s a lot to do and keeping your child healthy is bound to be at the forefront of your mind. Children will get colds and sniffles and cope quite well with love and care but they need help to fight off more serious infections. One way to gain protection comes from immunisation.
Here you will find information and useful tips on what immunisation is, why we get immunised and how to plan so that your child is protected against diseases into adulthood.
For more information please watch the videos on this page and visit the NHS Choices website
- Immunisation protects children and adults against harmful infections before they come into contact with them in the community.
- Immunisation uses the body’s natural defence mechanism, the immune response to build resistance to specific infections.
- Your doctor, practice nurse or school nurse will give a vaccine to start the process of immunisation.
- Vaccines contain a weakened or inactive form of the disease.
- Vaccines can be given as an injection, drops to take by mouth, or a nasal spray.
- In England information about free immunisation can be found on the NHS website along with helpful print outs and planners, such as the NHS vaccinations schedule.
- Parents and carers can use the vaccination planner for children born from 2004 onwards and get a free print out to stick to their fridge.
- In the Related Links on this page you will also find a useful schedule of vaccinations over a lifetime to print out, which includes information on vaccinations available to pregnant women.
IMMUNISATIONS FOR CHILDREN
Annual flu nasal spray
Flu can affect both children and adults; however children can get quite unwell should they catch this. They can sometimes get high fever, achy muscles, painful joints and sometimes breathing difficulties. At times it can also lead to severe complications and may need hospital admission.
The flu vaccine is now available in a nasal form for children and available through the GP for children under 5 years of age and from school nurses in their primary school for children up to year 2.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination
Measles, Mumps and Rubella are common highly infectious viruses, which are airborne and can cause conditions with high temperatures and nasty rash. They can lead to serious complications such as Meningitis, swelling of the brain (Encephalitis) and deafness.
Children can be protected by having MMR vaccine, which is given at their GP surgery as a single injection. MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against these three viruses in a single injection. The full course of MMR vaccination requires two doses. The first jab is usually given within a month of their first birthday and a second jab before starting school, usually between three and five years of age. It's important to make sure your children are up-to-date with the MMR vaccination before starting the school.
IMMUNISATIONS FOR TEENAGERS
Teenage Booster Vaccines
The Teenage Booster (known as the 3-in-1 or the Td/IPV vaccine) is given as a single injection to boost the protection against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio. This booster jab is given by school nurses at schools to all school children in year 9 or year 10. The Meningitis jab is also given at the same time.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine for Girls in Year 8
Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer for women aged under 35. The HPV jab will give protection against 2 types of HPV which cause 70% of cervical cancer. This vaccination is offered to girls in Year 8 by school nurses through the school. The HPV vaccine is currently given as two injections, the second one is given six months after the first jab.