The recommended vaccination schedule is as follows:
At 2 months - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Polio, HIB and Pneumococcal Vaccine
At 3 months - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Polio, HIB and Meningitis C Vaccine
At 4 months - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Polio, HIB, Meningitis C and Pneumococcal Vaccine
At 12 months - Hib** and Meningitis C
At 13 months - MMR and Pneumococcal Vaccine
At 3½-5 years - Pre-school booster of Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Polio and 2nd MMR
** HIB = Haemophilius Influenza Type B - see below
The following diseases can be more serious than many people think. Some, in certain cases, can be potentially fatal. Your child can, however, be protected by immunisation.
Meningitis This is a life-threatening infection. The symptoms include a severe headache with neck stiffness, as well as a dislike of bright lights, fever, temperature and a rash (which is not always present). The serious nature of meningitis has made developing immunisations important.
HIB (Haemophilus influenzae type B) This is a bacterial infection which can cause a number of diseases, including Bacterial Meningitis, Septicaemia, Pneumonia and Septic Arthritis. It is the serious nature of Hib which, in recent years, has made immunisation so important for the under four year olds.
Measles This is very common and particularly infectious. Like Diphtheria, it starts off like a common cold - but the child quickly develops a temperature and a rash. Measles can be very serious indeed, leading to all manner of problems such as Encephalitis, which can cause brain damage, Bronchitis and Pneumonia. Every year a number of children die from Measles.
Mumps This is usually not a severe illness in itself. It can, however, lead to very unpleasant complications such as Viral Meningitis in children. Symptoms are usually restricted to a swelling under the jaw, and behind and over the ears. In the UK, over 1,000 people a year are admitted to hospital with Mumps.
Polio This has been eradicated in the UK by immunisation. Increasing foreign travel, however, increases the risk of this disease being reintroduced via unprotected individuals. It is a disease of the nervous system which has the effect of affecting muscular movement. It can affect different muscle groups - for example those in the chest, causing difficulty in breathing - or those in the legs. It may lead to permanent paralysis.
Rubella (German measles) This is a very mild illness with symptoms similar to the common cold, together with a rash - initially on the face - which rapidly spreads all over the body. It is, however, highly dangerous to the unborn child and, therefore, it is especially important that pregnant women, and those planning to become pregnant are protected.
Pneumococcal Disease This is a particular risk in children under two years of age, and can lead to Meningitis and Septicaemia (blood poisoning).