Immunisations

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Is it time to make your baby’s appointment for their immunisations? The UK immunisation programme provides vaccinations from 8 weeks of age right through until they are 14 years old.

We would recommend giving your GP practice a call at around 5 weeks so that you have your first date in the diary. The first set of immunisations your baby will be offered are given at 8,12 and 16 weeks of age and include:

6-in-one vaccine - Given at 8, 12 & 16 weeks

This vaccine offers great protection for your baby against 6 serious childhood diseases:

Diphtheria

Hepatitis B

Hib

Polio

Tetanus

Whooping Cough

Before we had access to this vaccination, these diseases killed thousands of children each year.

The Rotavirus Vaccine - given at 8 & 12 weeks

Rotavirus is a tummy bug, which is known to impact babies and children more significantly. Resulting in sickness and diarrhoea, this virus can lead to tummy ache, temperature and dehydration. In most cases, babies fully recover but on occasion they do need a short stay in hospital due to dehydration.

MenB - Meningococcal Group B bacteria - given at 8 & 16 weeks

This vaccine guards your baby against serious infections caused by the meningococcal group B bacteria ,which can result in meningitis and sepsis. These conditions can lead to brain damage, limb amputations and death.

Pneumococcal Vaccine - given at 12 weeks

Usually referred to as the “Pneumonia Vaccine”, your baby will be protected against pneumococcal infections which can lead to pneumonia, blood poisoning and meningitis. Your baby will be offered 2 doses, the first at 12 weeks and the second at 1 year of age.

During pregnancy, your baby will have received immunity against these diseases via antibodies provided by Mum. However, after several weeks, this immunity starts to fade and your baby becomes more susceptible to infection.

You will receive mixed advice regarding your baby’s immunisations and it may be recommended to you that you give your baby liquid paracetamol prior to the injection. However, the NHS does not recommend administering analgesia to your baby prior to the injection. Pain relief recommendations are that babies should be routinely given 1 dose of paracetamol following the MenB vaccination to prevent a high temperature. The administration of analgesia following other injections can be considered should symptoms call for it.

On the day itself, make sure you take your baby’s red health record book with you so that the vaccination can be recorded. Dress your baby in clothes that are easy to remove. You can expect that your baby will be given the jab in their thigh. Taking your baby for their first jab is never something parents look forward to but try to stay nice and calm or your baby may sense your anxiety and become upset.

Before you know it, you will both be back home and your baby will have forgotten all about it. Anticipate that they may feel a little under the weather for a couple of days and the area may appear a little red and sore. Lots of cuddles and milk are in order – they will be back to their old self in no time.