Child vaccinations are a safe and effective way to help the body prevent or fight off certain diseases. Although vaccinations are not mandatory in Ireland, they are strongly advised by the health authorities. In Ireland children and young people are entitled to certain vaccination and immunisation services free of charge.
Ensuring your child is up-to-date with their vaccinations is important for two reasons. Firstly, to protect your child from illness and secondly, to protect the rest of the community.
- At birth: BCG vaccination, usually administered in the maternity hospital but recommended within the first monthof life.
- 2 months: The first '6 in 1' injection is administered which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, hepatitis B and HiB (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B). Also the first of two pneumococcal conjugate vaccines is also administered.
- 4 months: The second '6 in 1' injection is given along with the first of two meningococcal C vaccines.
- 6 months: The third '6 in 1' injection is provided along with the second pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
- 12 months: The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, and the pneumococcus (PCV) vaccine are administered.
- 13 months: The Hib booster and another meningococcal C vaccines are given.
- 4 - 5 years: A '4 in 1' booster injection is administered in the child's school for continued protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio along with an MMR booster.
- 11 - 14 years: A tetanus Pertussis and low dose diphtheria vaccine should be given in a child's school.
Research from around the world shows that immunisation is the safest way to protect your child's health. Your doctor or nurse can discuss the risks with you before giving your child his/her vaccines. Parents must consent to vaccinations for children and young people up to the age of 16.