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Children’s vaccines for beginners

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Over the years there have been lots of debates about the effectiveness of children’s vaccines and their possible side effects. With a huge amount of conflicting data, it can be hard for parents to know exactly what to do for the best.

Which order do the vaccinations need to be administered?

In the first 15 months of an infant’s life, they’re given a number of immunisations to protect them against a range of specific childhood diseases. If you’re looking for up to date information on exactly what childhood vaccines are available and when they should be administered, then here is a comprehensive list and the diseases they cover.

DTap / IPV / Hib Vaccine

This immunisation helps to protect children against five illnesses: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). Many of these diseases are not well known in today’s society. However this is because of the effectiveness of the immunisation programme and they can cause serious complications if contracted.

The vaccine is administered in three stages at two, three and four months of age. Children also receive a Hib booster at 12 months and diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio boosters before they start school. They’re given an additional tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster at between 14 and 18 years old.

Children's vaccines

Children who contract diphtheria can develop breathing problems, as well as damage to the heart and nervous system. In some instances it can even lead to death. Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system and causes muscle and breathing difficulties. It can’t be passed on like some illnesses, but is contracted through germs entering the body via cuts and burns.

Whooping cough is a potentially deadly illness, particularly in the under ones. Even in less serious cases the symptoms can last for up to 10 weeks. Polio affects the nervous system and can cause paralyse. There is also the potential for it to kill if it develops into the chest muscles or brain. If children are infected with Hib it can lead to more serious illnesses including blood poisoning, pneumonia and meningitis.

Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV)

This vaccinates children against the pneumococcal bacteria, which is one of the most common causes of meningitis. The bacteria can also lead to severe ear infections and bacteria. The vaccine is given at two, four and 15 months of age.

MenC Vaccine

The Meningococcal group C bacteria can lead to meningitis and septicemia (blood poisoning), which are both potentially life threatening illnesses. The vaccine is initially provided at three and four months and a booster is given at 15 months.

Meningitis is a swelling of the brain and is caused by the same germs that can lead to septicemia. The meningococcal group C bacterium is most susceptible to infants and those aged between 15 and 17 years of age.

MMR Vaccine

This immunisation provides protection against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles). The first MMR vaccine is administered to infants at 15 months and then given as a pre-school booster.

All three of these illnesses are highly infectious and in some cases can lead to serious complications. In the worst cases, measles can be fatal. However, it can also result in children suffering from brain damage or convulsions. Mumps can cause viral meningitis and deafness. The long term effects of Rubella include arthritis, blood disorders and swelling of the brain. Both the mumps and rubella infections are also dangerous for pregnant women and can lead to miscarriages.

Speak to your health visitor

The age ranges for vaccines are health guidelines. However, if your child has missed out on one then it’s important that they receive the vaccination whatever age they are. If you require more information on the UK vaccination programme then you should speak with your health visitor, who can direct you appropriately.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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