Protection from diseases
They’ve now been protected from 11 childhood diseases and there are just a couple of booster injections to go before they’re fully covered until the teenage years. Here’s what to expect up to the age of five.
At a glance
- Flu vaccine
- MMR booster
- 4-in-1 Pre-school booster
Between two and three, they’ll be eligible for the flu vaccine – a painless nasal spray that will protect them from flu. They can have it every year. This is quite a new vaccine, and the Government aims to protect all children between two and 16 eventually. But for now, in most parts of the UK, two to three-year-olds are the only ones who’ll qualify, plus children aged two to 18 with medical conditions who would have previously received a flu jab.
If they’ve got a runny nose on the day of the appointment, it could stop the nasal spray working, so it might be best to postpone it; get advice from your GP or practice nurse.
Your little one will need a second dose of the MMR – the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine. In most areas of the UK your GP practice will invite you for an appointment when your child is three years four months, or soon after. However, in parts of the country which have suffered outbreaks of measles, you may get called earlier.
The good news is that if your little one got a reaction to the vaccine last time – perhaps a rash/fever six to 11 days afterwards or mild mumps three to four weeks later – they are much less likely to get any side effects this time. Read more about the MMR vaccine and the importance of being up to date with your appointments.
4-in-1 Pre-school Booster
Also known as DTaP/IPV, this is a single injection containing vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis) and polio. Your little one was protected against all these diseases with the 5-in-1 injection at two, three and four months old. This is a booster dose usually given around the same time as the MMR booster at three years four months or soon after. (You can get the two done at the same time, as long as they are given in different parts of the body.) Around 10 per cent of children get mild side effects within the first 48 hours, including irritability, mild fever, loss of appetite and redness/swelling at the injection site.
They’re fully protected now until their teenage booster given between 13 and 18.