Need to know about baby jabs
Taking your baby to get their jabs isn’t fun for anyone but, says Helen Foster, getting one of the illnesses they prevent would be far worse
The subject of vaccinations can be a traumatic one for new mums. Do tiny babies really have to be immunised? What jabs do toddlers need? And what’s all this about pregnant women needing protection too? Confused? Here’s your need-to-know guide to the vax facts...
THE NEW VACCINE
In September last year the government added a vaccination called Bexsero to the programme. It’s given in three doses at eight and 16 weeks, then at 12 months, and protects against meningitis B. However some campaigners and parents think that, because children up to five are still at high risk, older children should also be given it.
Last year, after two high-profile deaths, many parents paid privately to have older children vaccinated – leading to a huge shortage in supplies. So do your toddlers really need it? Well, meningitis B is quite rare – the government estimates the vaccine will prevent just 4,000 cases in children under five over the next decade – but it can be a very serious disease. ‘We would like to see the government extend the programme to older children, but understand the cost implications,’ says Claire Donovan from the charity Meningitis Now.