Baby and Childhood Immunisation

October 2016

Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting babies and children against certain diseases. The risks from having these diseases are far greater than the risk of any minor side effects from immunisation. 

Two new vaccines are being added to the childhood immunisation schedule. These new vaccines will give babies protection against Meningococcal B disease and rotavirus disease. The HSE has been given funding to allow us to introduce these vaccines for all babies born on or after 1October 2016.

What’s new about MenB vaccine?

When babies are given MenB vaccine with the other childhood vaccines they are more at risk of developing a fever.  We recommend giving all children 3 doses of liquid infant paracetamol after their 2 and 4 month vaccines to reduce the risk of fever.

Paracetamol is not needed when MenB vaccine is given at 12 months as the risk of fever is less.

More information about MenB vaccine is available on the following page.

 

What’s new about rotavirus oral vaccine?

The rotavirus oral vaccine is given as a liquid dropped into the mouth of a child.

Rotavirus vaccine cannot be given on or after 8 months and 0 days of age as the risk of a blocked gut is greater in older children.

More information about Rotavirus vaccine is available on the following page.

What vaccines will my baby get?

The vaccines your baby will get, depends on the date your baby was born.

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What causes infection?

Infections are caused by germs entering the body through cuts or by being breathed in or swallowed. The germs then cause diseases such as meningitis (infection of the lining around the brain), pneumonia (a lung infection) or septicaemia (blood poisoning).  

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What is a contagious disease?

A contagious disease is one that spreads from one person (someone who is infected or is a 'carrier') to another through coughs and sneezes.

Carriers are people who 'carry' germs in their body but are not sick themselves. For example, 1 in 10 people carry meningococcal germs but only 1 in 10,000 gets sick with meningitis or septicaemia from those germs. 

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How does my child's body fight infection?

When germs infect your child's body, your child's immune system makes 'antibodies'. Antibodies do the following two things:

  • Their first job is to attack and destroy the germs. However, because it takes the body time to make enough antibodies, the germs may damage your child's body before the antibodies can destroy them.
  • Their second job is to stay in your child's body to protect them against future infections. If the same germs try to infect your child again, the antibodies will destroy the germs before they have a chance to make your child sick. This way of dealing with germs is called 'immunity'.

It is why most people get diseases like measles or chickenpox only once, even though they might be exposed to them many times.

The problem with getting natural immunity from germs is that your child has to get sick before they develop immunity. In fact, some germs could make your child very sick or even kill them before their body could produce enough antibodies to destroy the germs.

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How do vaccines work?

When your child is given a vaccine, their body responds by making antibodies, the same as if they had caught the disease but without getting sick. Their body then produces antibodies to destroy the vaccine and these stay in your child's body and protect them against the actual disease.

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How long do vaccines take to work?

It usually takes a few weeks for vaccines to work, so your child will not be protected immediately. Also, most vaccines need to be given several times to build up long-lasting protection. For example, a child who gets only one or two doses of the whooping cough vaccine is only partly protected against that disease and may still catch whooping cough.

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Why does my child need more than one dose of a vaccine?

More than one dose of the same vaccine is given in the first few years of a child's life. The extra doses improve the antibody response and give better long term protection.

Booster doses of some vaccines are also given to school children to give better long term protection. 

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What are the names of the vaccines my baby will receive?

For babies born on or after 1 October 2016

The table below shows the vaccine product name and the company that makes the vaccine.

Age

Vaccination

Product Name

Manufacturer

At Birth

BCG*

BCG

SSI

2 Months

6 in 1 

+

PCV

+

MenB

+

Rotavirus

Infanrix Hexa

 

Prevenar 13

 

Bexsero

 

Rotarix

GSK

 

Pfizer

 

GSK

 

GSK

4 Months

6 in 1 

+

MenB

+

Rotavirus

Infanrix Hexa

 

Bexsero

 

Rotarix

GSK

 

GSK

 

GSK

6 Months

6 in 1 

+

PCV

+

MenC

Infanrix Hexa

 

Prevenar 13

 

Menjugate

GSK

 

Pfizer

 

GSK

12 Months

MMR

MenB

Priorix or  MMRVaxpro

 

Bexsero

GSK or  Sanofi Pasteur MSD

GSK

13 Months

Hib/MenC

+

PCV

Menitorix

 

Prevenar 13

GSK

 

Pfizer

* The HSE continues to experience ongoing delays with the supply of BCG vaccine. Click here for more information

5 Visits Completed

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Where can I find out more information about these vaccines?

All vaccines used by the HSE as part of the immunisation programme are licensed by the Irish Medicines Board and the European Medicines Agency.

The following websites provide detailed licensed information about the vaccines

This information can be found in the patient information leaflet (PIL) and the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

To search these websites you need to know the name of the vaccine. The product names of each vaccine used in the primary childhood immunisation schedule are

Vaccine

Product Name

Manufacturer

BCG*

BCG

SSI

6 in 1

Infanrix Hexa

GSK

MenB

Bexsero

GSK

Rotavirus

Rotarix

GSK

PCV

Prevenar 13

Pfizer

MenC

Menjugate

Novartis GSK

MMR

Priorix  or MMRVaxpro

GSK

Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Hib/MenC

Menitorix

GSK

Hib

Hiberix

GSK

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Where can I find a list of vaccine ingredients?

The following websites provide detailed licensed information about vaccines including the ingredients:

To search these websites you need to know the name of the vaccine. The product names of each vaccine used in the primary childhood immunisation schedule are

Vaccine

Product Name

Manufacturer

6 in 1

Infanrix Hexa

GSK

MenB

Bexsero

GSK

Rotavirus

Rotarix

GSK

PCV

Prevenar 13

Pfizer

MenC

Menjugate

Novartis GSK

MMR

Priorix  or MMRVaxpro

GSK

Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Hib/MenC

Menitorix

GSK

Hib

Hiberix

GSK

The list of ingredients is available in the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL)

More detailed information can be found in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs). SPCs follow a standard format and to find what is in each vaccine you should look at Section 2 - Qualitative and quantitative composition and Section 6.1 – list of excipients.

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Has the vaccine schedule changed?

Yes. The meningococcal B vaccine and rotavirus oral vaccine have now been added to the schedule.

The vaccine schedules have changed many times as new vaccines are added, you can view previous schedules here.

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Where can I get a copy of my child's vaccination records? 

The primary childhood immunisation programme is carried out in GP (family doctor) practices. The practice should have a copy of your child's vaccination records for the vaccinations they have carried out. The records may also be available from your local health office.

In most areas the school immunisation programme is carried out by the HSE school immunisation teams and the vaccination record will be held in your local health office. In a small number of areas the school vaccinations are carried out in GP practices and records should be available through your GP or local health office.

The National Immunisation Office produces vaccination passports that you or the vaccinator can fill in so you can keep all vaccination records together. To order a copy of this booklet for your child's vaccinations please click here

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For more information

  • If you have any questions speak with your GP or public health nurse or Local Health Office
  • Download the booklet "Your child's immunisation - A guide for parents" here for more information about the primary childhood programme (Birth - 13 months) - English (2.8MB) or Irish Version (3MB)
  • Download the booklet "Immunisation Passport" here - English (320.6kb) or Irish (331.2kb) Version
  • Health Protection Surveillance Centre - vaccination information
  • Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland

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This page was added on 25 October 2016