Each parent will need to weigh up the risk and benefits of vaccinating your child. While all medicines have side effects, vaccines tend to be among the safest, and in most cases the benefits far outweigh the side effects.
It’s important to make the decision that’s right for your family, but it’s also important to also consider your social responsibility in the importance of removing these epidemics from our communities so future vaccinations may not be necessary for your childs own children. Take smallpox for instance. This nasty disease has now been completely destroyed as a result of proactive vaccination.
The side effects?
Each vaccination is very different and the full information is available from your GP or calling the NHS hotline. In most cases, the side effects from vaccinations are quite mild, ranging from swelling or redness around the area of the injection, but is short lasting. Babies are likely to get more symptoms ranging from a slight temperature, or irritability but again the effects are short lasting, lasting in most no longer than 2 days.
In some very rare cases (less than 1 in 1million) your child may suffer an anaphylactic reaction soon after receiving the vaccination; thankfully the medical staff giving the injection are fully trained to spot the signs of reaction and will remedy the effects promptly.
What are Vaccines?
Vaccines work by triggering a response in the body to generate the required anti-bodies to fight a specified disease without actually infecting the patient with the illness. This is called “active immunity”. When the vaccinated baby comes in contact with the disease the infection is recognised and the relevant anti-body can be deployed before any damage is caused. Interestingly many new born babies are already temporarily protected from a number of common diseases such as measles, rubella, and mumps because of the anti-bodies passed onto them from their mother, assuming the mother has been vaccinated herself. This is called “passive immunity” and only lasts between 2 weeks and 1 year depending on the disease.
When should I vaccinate my baby?
(Please contact your GP if you are in any doubt, the information was provided by the NHS)
At 2 months
• diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and hib Part 1: This vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae.
• pneumococcal infection Part 1: This vaccine is the first of a 3 part programme that protects against pneumococcal infection, which can cause diseases such as meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia.
At 3 months
• diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and hib Part 2
• meningitis part 1: This vaccine protects against Meningococcal group C, a type of bacteria that can cause meningitis and septicaemia. There are 3 parts of this programme, the third part combing another vaccination
At 4 months
• diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and hib Part 3 (final)
• meningitis part 2
• pneumococcal infection Part 2
At 12-13 months
• measles, mumps, and rubella part 1: Also known as the MMR, this vaccines protects against measles, mumps and rubella. This is part 1 of a 2 part programme
• pneumococcal infection Part 3
• Booster: hib, meningitis C (Part 3)
At 40 months
• Booster: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
• measles, mumps, rubella part 2