A guide to your child's immunisation

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by Vicky Lumsden

Immunisation is essential to the health of your child and the children of the county we live in. Only through a nationwide immunisation program can we eradicate diseases which can strike down our children at the cruelest of times. If you fail to immunise you are in effect relying on everyone else your child comes into contact with being immunised. Is that a chance you want to take?

When a child is born it possesses certain levels of immunity to disease passed on to them from their mother. However after two months this immunity effectively runs out and the child is on their own. Indeed this is why we don't begin immunising until after the baby is 2 months old. The immunity antibodies can stop the vaccination from working properly. Only after eight weeks will the antibodies have worn off and pose no threat to the injections.

the timing of your baby's immunisation is critical

When should the immunisation take place?

The timing of immunising your baby is crucial. Any delay can leave your child unprotected and with the severe nature of many of the viruses out there, this can prove fatal. Premature babies are particularly at risk. The following is a timetable of when your baby should receive each vaccine.

At 2 months
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Hib (DTaP/IPV/Hib) in the form of one injection. It is necessary to come back for another injection at both 3 months and 4 months.

- Meningitis C vaccine to protect against meningitis

At 3 months
- The second injection of (DTaP/IPV/Hib)

At 4 months
- The final injection of (DTaP/IPV/Hib)

At 12 to 13 months
- Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) in the form of one injection. A second booster injection is recommended at 4 years of age.

At 3 years and four months to 5 years of age
- DTaP/IPV vaccines which protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio. This is in the form of one injection and should be administered before the child stats school.

At 4 years
- the MMR booster in the form of one injection.

At 10 to 15 years
- BCG to protect against tuberculosis. This single injection will be given at school

At 13 to 18 years
- Td/IPV to protect against diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Again this single injection will administered at school.

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