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A-Simple-Guide-to-The-Childhood-Immunisation-Schedule_3

A Simple Guide To The Childhood Immunisation Schedule

The idea of childhood vaccines, is that they protect your baby from potentially serious illnesses at the start of their life. With the most common concerns in mind, we explore the often-navigated waters of baby vaccinations. 

There is no doubt about it: Vaccinations can save your child's life, so it's really important to keep up to date with your baby's immunisations. 

When the Public Health Nurse visits your home they will give you a booklet Your Child’s Immunisation – A Guide for Parents. Please read this booklet carefully and keep it safe. It contains lots of information about the immunisations your baby will be offered over the next 13 months. Your baby needs five visits to your GP to complete their course of vaccines.

In the back pocket of this booklet there is a magnet with the immunisation schedule. You can put this somewhere visible to remind you about the vaccines your baby needs. There is also an immunisation passport in the back pocket. Bring this passport with you to each visit and the practice nurse will write down the vaccines your baby has received. Keep this immunisation passport in a safe place and bring it to all appointments so it can be filled in and kept up to date.

What happens next?

At your baby’s six-week check you will be given a leaflet with more information about your baby’s immunisations.

The HSE will write and ask you to arrange to visit your GP for the first of your five visits. If you do not hear from the HSE, you should arrange to visit your GP when your baby is two months old.

To provide the best protection for your baby, it is important that they get all their vaccines on time.

Can I give my baby anything before they are vaccinated?

You can give your baby milk a few minutes before their vaccination. This can help to reduce pain at the injection site. Do not give infant paracetamol to your baby before you go to your GP (doctor) surgery.

What happens before Immunisation?

Before your baby is immunised, the doctor or practice nurse will check with you that your baby is well, and able to get the vaccines. If you have any worries or questions about your baby’s immunisations, ask the doctor or practice nurse before your baby is immunised. There are very few reasons why your baby should not get a vaccine.

How are the vaccines given?

The rotavirus oral vaccine is given first. This is given as a liquid dropped into your baby’s mouth. The other vaccines are given as injections into your baby’s legs.

Immunisation Schedule

Your baby needs five visits to your GP to complete their course of vaccines. Remember to bring your baby’s immunisation passport to each visit.

Visit 1 - 2 months
Vaccination: 6 in 1 + PCV + MenB + Rotavirus (3 Injections + 1 Oral Drop)

Visit 2 - 4 months
6 in 1 + MenB + Rotavirus (2 Injections + 1 Oral Drop)

Please note: The Rotavirus vaccine cannot be given on, or after 8 months and 0 days of age.

Visit 3 - 6 months
6 in 1 + PCV + Men C (3 Injections)

Visit 4 - 12 months
MMR + MenB (2 injections)

Visit 5 - 13 months
Hib/MenC + PCV (2 injections) 

Where Can I Find Out More Information?

The booklet Your Child's Immunisations - A Guide For Parents is given when the public health nurse visits you, but you can also download it here: www.immunisation.ie.

Detailed licensed information about vaccines, including the ingredients, is available from:

To search these websites you'll need to know the product name of the vaccine, which is available from www.immunisation.ie.

What common reactions can my child get after being vaccinated and what should I do?

At two, and four months (visits one and two)

A fever is common after MenB vaccine:

What to do?

  • Give liquid infant paracetamol:

1. Give 2.5 mls (60mg) at the time of the immunisation or shortly after.
2. Give a second dose of 2.5 mls (60 mg) 4-6 hours after the first dose.
3. Give a third dose of 2.5 mls (60 mg) 4-6 hours after second dose.
4. Give a fourth dose 4-6 hours after the third dose if your baby still has a fever.

Soreness, swelling and redness in the area where the injection was given:

What to do?

  • Make sure clothes are not too tight or rubbing against the area where the injection was given.

Mild diarrhoea after the rotavirus vaccine:

What to do?

  • Give extra milk to drink.
  • Wash your hands carefully after changing and disposing of your baby’s nappy.

At six, 12 and 13 months (visits three, four and five)

Soreness, swelling and redness in the area where the injection was given:

What to do?

  • Give liquid infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to relieve aches and pains.
  • Make sure clothes are not too tight or rubbing against the area where the injection was given.

Fever (over 39°C):

What to do?

  • Do not overdress your baby.
  • Make sure their room isn’t too hot.
  • Give extra fluids to drink.
  • Give liquid infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to lower the fever.

Headache or irritability:

What to do?

  • Give liquid infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to relieve aches and pains.
  • You can feed your baby at any time after their vaccines including after the rotavirus oral vaccine. If you are worried about your baby, please contact your GP (doctor), practice nurse, or public health nurse for further advice. 

Expert opinion:

Dr Brenda Corcoran, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, has this advice on the common concerns that parents have about vaccines:

Vaccines are given at an early age because young babies are most vulnerable to these diseases and need to be protected as early as possible. For example, babies younger than six months are at the highest risk for serious complications of whooping cough (six out of 10 need to go into hospital, and nine out of 10 deaths from whooping cough are in this age group). The MMR vaccine is not usually recommended for children under 12 months unless they are going to a country with a measles outbreak because it may not work properly.
Some parents worry that giving several vaccines at once will overload their child’s immune system or that the vaccines may not work properly. However, there is nothing to worry about as your child’s immune system can easily cope with vaccines. Studies have shown that vaccines are just as safe and just as effective when they are given together as when they are given separately.
A number of injections are needed to give your child the fullest possible protection, so it is important to complete the course. The ages at which vaccines are recommended are chosen to give your child the earliest and best protection against disease. So make sure your child is vaccinated on time every time.

This article is sponsored by The HSE National Immunisation Office (NIO). Please visit www.immunisation.ie for more information. 


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