Vaccines are routinely offered to every child in the UK for free on the NHS. If you’re not sure whether your child has had all their routine vaccinations, ask your GP or practice nurse to find out for you. Parents who are not registered with a doctor should contact their health visitor or school nurse for more information.
Vaccines for children
The routine childhood immunisation schedule offered to all infants includes vaccinations against: diphtheria, pertussis, polio, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza type b, meningitis C, meningitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and pneumococcal infection.
The BCG vaccine protects against tuberculosis, which is also known as TB. TB is a serious infection which affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body such as the bones, joints and kidneys. It can also cause meningitis. New-born BCG vaccinations for all babies in Enfield are in the process of being implemented.
Why are these immunisations so important? Principally because of the potentially serious consequences of developing these diseases and the fact that they are all very infections, so if one person gets the disease they are very likely to pass it on to others, and because unless we keep immunisation levels at a sufficiently high level they will become common again
It is important to make sure that your child has all of their routine vaccinations. Your child should have their jabs at the right age to protect them as early as possible and minimise the risk of infection.
Childhood vaccinations are offered free on the NHS to all children. The first injections are due when your baby is two months old. Find out here which vaccinations your child needs and when they need them using the NHS vaccination timetable.
Targeted Immunisation Programmes for children
Babies born to mothers found to be infected with hepatitis B need to be given a dose of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of their birth, followed by further doses at 1, 2 and 12 months old. All babies born to mothers infected with hepatitis B should be tested at 12 months old to check if they have become infected with the virus.
School Flu Vaccine Programme
In the autumn/winter of 2019-20, the nasal spray flu vaccine will be available free on the NHS for eligible children, including:
- children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2019 – that is, children born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2017
- all primary school children
- children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions
The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free (a big advantage for children), the nasal spray works even better than the injected flu vaccine.
Vaccines for teenagers
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, also known as cervical cancer vaccination, is offered routinely to all 12 to 13-year-old girls to protect you from cervical cancer in later life.
The school leaver’s booster (to protect against polio) is delivered as a single vaccination to year 10 boys and girls.
Young teenagers, sixth formers and fresher students going to university for the first time are advised to have a vaccination to prevent meningitis. The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single injection and protects against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia – meningococcal (Men) A, C, W and Y diseases.
School leavers and other young adults need to be fully vaccinated against mumps before they start college. Teenagers and adults in their early 20s are at higher risk of mumps. This is because many were too old to be routinely vaccinated with the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella vaccine) when it was first introduced in the UK in 1988, or they only received one dose of MMR instead of the recommended two. Further details on the mumps vaccine for teenagers can be found here.