Immunisations for babies
When babies are born they have little immunity to disease – in fact, their immune system is constantly changing and developing throughout their lifetime. Because their immune system is still developing this means they are more susceptible to the sorts of bugs we, as adults, can, and regularly do, fight off.
Vaccines give your baby’s immune system the help it needs to protect them against serious illnesses by introducing a small amount of the disease or illness into their system. This manageable dose allows the immune system to learn how to fight the disease and become immune to it.
While it’s easy to think that some diseases are so uncommon your baby won't need vaccinating against them, they are only rare because of immunisation; one outbreak amongst un-immunised babies is all it takes for an illness to resurface. That’s why immunisation is so important.
When to immunise
All babies – even premature ones – should be immunised from two months, when they start to lose the small amount of immunity they may have gained from you. Usually you'll receive a letter from your health visitor giving you a date for your baby’s immunisations.
Immunisations have an excellent safety record and allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare. Some babies have swelling or redness at the site of the injection. If your baby experiences this, a baby-friendly painkiller may help.
Occasionally babies suffer from very mild symptoms of the diseases they are being immunised against, but it's unlikely that they'll suffer any serious complications as a result. There's a much greater risk to your baby from the disease itself if they're not protected.
If you think your baby is having an adverse reaction to a vaccine, speak to your health visitor or doctor. Our expert team is also here to offer support and advice, just give us a call anytime on 0800 996 1000, or chat to us online via our instant messaging service, Live Chat Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.