At Springfield Surgery, we strongly encourage parents to immunise their children. Immunisation works - since the introduction of the meningitis vaccine, we have seen a significant drop in the numbers of children getting meningitis. The number of children receiving the MMR vaccine has fallen recently, and the incidence of serious childhood illnesses such as measles has increased. It is becoming increasingly clear that the safety fears surrounding immunisations (and MMR in particular) are unfounded. The benefits of immunising seem to far outweigh the extremely small risks.
When should they be given?
If a vaccine is given when a baby still has antibodies to the disease, the antibodies can stop the vaccine working. This is why routine childhood immunisations do not start until a baby is two months old, before the antibodies a baby gets from its mother have stopped working. This is also why it is important for parents to stick to the immunisation schedule, as a delay can leave a baby unprotected. A delay can increase the chance of adverse reactions to some vaccines, such as pertussis (whooping cough).
Things have changed in 2006
Routine pneumococcal vaccine is being introduced . In addition to this the current three doses of MenC vaccine will be respaced at three and four months of age with a booster at 12 months. Also a booster dose of Hib vaccine will be given at 12 months.
These changes follow a stringent review by the Department of Health.