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Vaccinations 0-4 years

Publish date: 20/08/2015

Tags: children

0-4 years old

Schedule of vaccinations

The vaccinations below are part of a programme which is recommended for most children in the UK. They all have proven benefits and side effects are usually mild and short-lived. 

Always inform your GP if your baby has a high temperature or an established allergy to discuss any concerns you may have. They will help you to decide what course of action is right for you and your child. 

Our team of experts, including midwives and pharmacists, are also available to answer your questions.

5-in-1 (DtaP / IPV / Hib) vaccine (Pediacel)

Why - It protects against five diseases: Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio and haemophilus influenzae Type B (known as Hib – a bacterial infection that can cause severe pneumonia or meningitis in young children 

What to expect - This is the first vaccination your child is likely to receive. It’s administered at 2, 3 and 4 months of age. There is a single injection, often injected into the baby’s thigh.  

If for any reason your baby misses having their vaccine, it’s never too late.

This may not be suitable for all children. Talk to your GP, nurse or health adviser if your child is running a fever or has had a reaction to any other medications, or has had seizures (fits) in the past. 

Very common side effects - of this vaccine (affecting 1 in 10 babies) 

Side effects - Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. Your child may also be irritable and tearful or run a fever. 

Most of the time, these side effects are mild and short-lived.

Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) (Prevenar 13)

Why - This protects against pneumococcal infections which can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis. This vaccine is administered as three separate injections at 2 months, 4 months and 12-13 months of age.

What to expect - This is usually given from 6 weeks of age in a series consisting of three doses followed by  a booster dose between11 and 15 months of age

Side effects may occur in the form of a mild fever, redness, hardness or swelling at injection site.

Rotavirus (Rotarix) 

Why - This protects against rotavirus infection, a highly infectious stomach bug and common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting, that typically affects babies and young children. Since its introduction, this vaccine has been known to prevent over 70% of cases. 

What to expect - There is no injection. There are two doses at 2 and 3 months of age. It’s administered as a liquid from a dropper directly into the baby’s mouth.

Side effects which may occur include: restlessness, irritability and mild diarrhoea.

Meningitis B vaccine

Why - Meningitis B vaccine will be available and included as part of the routine NHS vaccination schedule for children from 1st September 2015. 

What to expect - First dose is given to babies aged two months, second dose aged four months and a booster at twelve months. There will be a catch-up programme for babies who are due their 3- and 4-month vaccinations in September 2015. 

It is a single dose, given as an injection in the baby’s thigh. It can be given at the same time as other routine vaccinations.

Side effects - Many babies have no side effects at all and those that do run a fever, or high temperature, this tends to be mild and short-lived.

Meningitis C vaccine (Neisvac C, Menjugate, Menitorix)

Why - This vaccine (commonly referred to as the Men C vaccine) protects against meningitis and septicaemia, caused by the meningococcal group C bacteria.

The meningitis C vaccine doesn’t protect against meningitis caused by meningococcal group B bacteria, therefore it's important for parents to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis.

What to expect - The vaccine is administered at 3 months (either brand Neisvac C or Menjugate), 12 months (Menitorix brand) and 13-15 years (teenage boosters). The vaccine is created by using part of the structural surface of the bacteria; however the illness is not contracted following administration. Since the meningitis C vaccine was introduced in 1999, a 95% decrease was observed in cases of disease caused by meningitis C.

Side effects may include swelling redness and pain at the injection site, mild fever, vomiting and diarrhoea (more common in babies and toddlers), crying, irritability, drowsiness, disrupted sleep, low appetite (more common in babies and toddlers). 

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine (Priorix, MMR VaxPRO)

Why - This protects against measles, mumps and rubella (commonly known of as German measles) and is given as a single injection. These are common and very infectious conditions that have potentially fatal complications such as meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness.

What to expect - The full course requires two doses. It’s administered as a single injection into the muscle of the thigh or upper arm. First dose is normally given to babies aged 12-13 months.

Usually babies don’t need to be vaccinated for MMR before 6 months because antibodies are transferred and retained from the mother at birth. These maternal antibodies reduce in number with age and are almost gone by the time this vaccine is due.

This vaccine can sometimes be administered from 6 months of age if there’s evidence of exposure to the measles virus or throughout a measles outbreak. 

The 2nd dose of the vaccine is usually administered before starting school between ages 3 and 5 years.  

Common side effects include a very mild form of measles (includes a rash, fever, decreased appetite) which may occur for a week or so following the injection. Three to four weeks after vaccination, 1 in 50 children may contract a mild form of mumps, with swelling of the glands in the cheek, neck or under the jaw, which may last for a few days

Children’s flu vaccine (Fleunz Tetra)

Why - For most people, flu is an unpleasant illness, but it's not serious. If you are otherwise healthy, you will usually recover from flu within a week.

The NHS currently offers the vaccine to those who are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These people are advised to have a flu jab each year. 

What to expect - In autumn / winter of 2015/16 the annual nasal flu vaccine will be available for children aged 2, 3, and 4 years of age. It’s administered as a single dose squirted into each nostril. 

The injectable flu vaccine will continue to be offered to children aged 6 months to 2 years with long term health conditions (particularly heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, asthma and weakened immune system). Since the nasal vaccine is known to be more effective than the flu injection, children within the risk group who are aged between 2-17 years will be offered the nasal vaccine. However, children aged between 6 months and 2 years will continue to be offered the annual injectable flu vaccine. The nasal vaccine not being licensed for this age group.

Side effects of flu nasal spray vaccine: slightly runny nose for a short period, and less commonly: fever, headache, low appetite. 

Side effects of injectable flu vaccine:  fever, swelling, redness and small hard lump at injection site. These usually pass within a 2 days. 


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