Immunisation for children
There are some diseases that can kill children or cause lasting damage to their health. Sometimes your child's system needs help to fight those diseases. Immunisation - also called 'vaccination', 'jabs' or 'injections' - provides that help.
Childhood immunisation programme
Immunisation prepares our bodies to fight serious infections that we may come in contact with in the future. Because immunisation is so successful, it is now rare for children to get serious diseases like diphtheria, polio or tetanus. Measles and pertussis (whooping cough) are also becoming less common. However, if children are not immunised against these diseases, they will come back again.
Vaccines are offered to all children to protect them against the following diseases:
- Diphtheria (D)
- Tetanus (T)
- Pertussis (P)
- Polio (IPV)
- Haemophilus influenzae (Hib)
- Meningitis C
- Pneumococcal infection (PCV)
- Human Papillomavirus
|Age immunisation is given||Diseases protected against||Name of vaccine|
|Two months old||Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Pneumococcal infection||DTaP/IPV/Hib Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, (PCV)|
|Three months old||
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
|Four months old||
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Meningitis C
|Around 12 months old||
Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
|Around 13 months old||
Measles, mumps and rubella
|Three to five years||Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio Measles, mumps and rubella||DTaP/IPV or dTaP/IPV MMR|
|14 to 18 years old||Diphtheria, tetanus, polio||Td/IPV|
|13 to 18 years old (from September 2008 - girls only)||Human papilloma virus (HPV) - increases the risk of cervical cancer||HPV|
In addition, some babies in high-risk groups are given a BCG immunisation for protection against tuberculosis shortly after they are born. Higher risk infants may also receive immunisation against Hepatitis B.
Your doctor or health visitor will give you more information if your child needs any of these.
Getting your child immunised
All parents receive invitations at the appropriate times to have their child immunised
Before your child starts school, they will usually get their jabs either at your doctor's surgery or local health clinic. An appointment is usually sent from the Child Health Department or by your surgery.
Teenagers will usually have their injections at school. The school will contact you before your child is given any immunisation.
If you have any questions, you can talk to your health visitor, doctor, school nurse or practice nurse at your doctor's surgery.
Further information on immunisations can be found in the following leaflets:
- Immunisation for babies up to 15 months of age (PDF 344KB)
- The facts about MMR and pneumoccocal vaccines (PDF 199KB)
- Immunisation for pre-school children aged three to five years (PDF 232KB)
- Teenage immunisation for children aged 14 to 18 (PDF 264KB)
- Help with PDF files