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Protect your child now and in the future

Immunisations, also known as vaccinations are usually given by injection. Children in the UK are offered vaccinations against a variety of diseases as part of the Healthy Child Programme. You can get advice on the vaccinations from your GP or Health Visitor. A record is kept in the Parent Held Child Health Record (Red Book), which is a book you keep containing information on your child’s health.

Immunisations are mainly given during the first five years. It’s important to have vaccinations at the right age to keep the risk of disease as low as possible. It is normal to worry about vaccinations, so don’t hesitate to ask your Health Visitor or GP for advice - that’s what they are there for! Childhood immunisations are free and most are given at your GP’s surgery.

Some immunisations are given more than once to make sure the protection continues. This is known as a booster, so make sure your child gets it.

An annual nasal spray flu vaccine is available for all children aged 2 and 3 years old as part of the NHS Childhood Vaccination Programme. Ask your Health Visitor.

The whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all women between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant. You should be offered this at your routine antenatal appointment.

GP says

Immunisations are used to protect children from diseases which can be very serious and sometimes even cause death.

The protection immunisations offer your child are worth the small amount of pain.
You may have concerns about the safety of immunisations, discuss these with your GP. Mild side effects are possible.

Health Visitor says

Make sure you keep your child’s Red Book in a safe place. It is your only complete record of their childhood immunisations and they are often needed later in life.
Check with your Health Visitor on any updates and future immunisations.

When to immunise


Diseases protected against

Two months old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Rotavirus vaccine

Three months old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib
  • Meningococcal group C disease (MenC)
  • Rotavirus vaccine

Four months old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib
  • Pneumococcal disease

12 months old

  • Hib/MenC
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)

15 months old

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (2nd dose)
Three years four months old or soon after
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio

Source: NHS Immunisation Information.


Immunisation begins at two months, when baby's natural immunity to illness, begins to drop.


Your Health Visitor will tell you when local immunisation sessions are taking place.


Immunisations don’t just protect your child during childhood, they protect them for life.