Time to talk: vaccinations


Dr Chiara Hunt and sister Marina Fogle of The Bump Class discuss vaccinations

Vaccinations have saved the lives of millions of children. And as these vaccines are given worldwide with virtually no negative consequences, the medical world agrees that they are incredibly safe. These vaccinations protect against illnesses that  could potentially kill or seriously harm your child if they contract them, while also  preventing the spread of disease.

What vaccinations and when?

After birth

BCG (TB): Currently only given in high-risk areas but can vary depending on hospital. If your baby is likely to travel or you live in a high-risk area, it’s worth giving your baby this vaccine. Give it as early as possible as it provides the most protection the earlier it’s given. Usually given in the left arm, the BCG causes a small pustule that blisters and scabs, leaving a scar. Privately, some doctors give the injection in the bottom.

Eight weeks

  • DTaP/IPV/Hib injection – five vaccinations are given in one injection (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and haemophilus influenza type B)
  • Pneumococcal injection (protects against pneumonia)
  • Rotavirus oral dose (protects against the diarrhoea/vomiting illness)

12 weeks

  •  DTaP/IPV/Hib injection (second dose)
  •  Meningitis C injection
  • Rotavirus (second oral dose)

16 weeks

  • DTaP/IPV/Hib injection (third dose)
  • Pneumococcal injection (second dose)

12 to 13 months

  • Hib/Men C booster injection – haemophilus influenza (fourth dose) and meningitis C (second dose)
  • MMR injection (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • Pneumococcal injection (third dose)

From Three Years

  • MMR – second dose
  • DTap/IPV (4-in-1 pre-school booster)
  • Two, three and four year olds are offered the flu vaccine as they’re at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch it. This is worth having, especially as it’s now just a nasal spray.

There are other vaccinations you may also consider which, rather like travel vaccinations, are available privately or at an additional cost through your GP.

  • Meningitis B – this vaccination has only recently become available and provides protection against the meningitis strain. It’s not available on the NHS yet, although there is a plan to introduce it in 2015.
  • Chickenpox vaccine – although rarely life-threatening, the chickenpox infection can sometimes cause serious complications and often leaves scars. This infection can be uncomfortable for children and inconvenient, as the child should be quarantined. It’s especially worth considering if there is a new baby in the house as babies are particularly vulnerable.

Dispelling Vaccine Myths

Separating vaccinations provides no benefit; rather it’s more traumatic as your baby has to have more injections, so medics group as many as is safe and viable into one jab.

Multiple studies have conclusively shown that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The study that suggested this has been retracted and the doctor responsible has been struck off the medical register.

Vaccines cannot overload a child’s immune system. From the day he’s born, your baby’s immune system has to deal with exposure to different bacteria and viruses every day and the immune system is able to cope perfectly well.


  • Don’t count on your GP reminding you when the next vaccinations are due; put them in your diary.
  • Plan a convenient time for jabs. Bear in mind that your baby might still be grizzly for up to 48 hours after the vaccinations have been administered.
  • Bring your child’s personal health record (the little red book). It’s crucial vaccinations are recorded.
  • Give your baby some infant paracetamol an hour before. It’s quite normal for babies to be more restless, and grumpy. They may develop a mild temperature, so keep the paracetamol handy. The injection site often becomes a bit red and sore. Serious reactions are incredibly rare but if you’re worried, call your GP.
  • Remember injections are not that painful, the cries are more a form of objection and shock rather than pain

Dr Chiara Hunt and Marina Fogle run the hugely successful Bump Class in South Kensington. Find out more: thebumpclass.com