Vaccines for your child

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect your child against certain diseases. These diseases can cause serious illness or even death.

How vaccines work

When your child is given a vaccine, their immune system makes antibodies. These antibodies remain in the body.

If your child comes in contact with an infection in the future, the antibodies stop them from getting sick.

Vaccine safety

As a parent, you might not like the fact that your child has to get an injection.

But vaccinations:

  • are quick, safe and effective
  • protect your child from disease
  • help your child to fight diseases

If you do not vaccinate your child, there is a chance they could become very ill, or even die.

Be ready with a feed or a hug for your child and the vaccination will be forgotten soon afterwards.

Vaccines your child will get

At 2 months

6 in 1 vaccine

This is a single vaccine which will protect your child against the following diseases:

At 4 months

  • 6 in 1 vaccine (second dose)
  • MenB vaccine (meningococcal B vaccine)
  • Rotavirus oral vaccine

At 6 months

  • 6 in 1 vaccine (third dose)
  • PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)
  • MenC vaccine (meningococcal C vaccine)

At 12 months

  • MMR (measles mumps rubella)
  • MenB vaccine (meningococcal B vaccine)

At 13 months

  • Hib/MenC (haemophilus influenzae type B and Meningococcal C combined vaccine)
  • PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)

You can find out more information about vaccines for your baby on the immunisation.ie website. Talk to your GP or your public health nurse (PHN) if you have any questions.

At 4 to 5 years

Children in Junior Infants will be offered:

  • 4 in 1 vaccine - diphtheria, polio, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • MMR (measles mumps rubella) - second dose

At 12 to 14 years

Students in first year of secondary school will be offered the following vaccines:

  • HPV (human papillomavirus vaccine)
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough booster)
  • MenACWY (meningococcal A, C, W and Y vaccine)

School immunisation programme

Speak to your local school immunisation team if you have any questions.

Flu vaccine

Children aged 2 to 12 can now get the flu vaccine for free. This is given as a spray in the nose.

The flu vaccine will help protect your child against flu and reduce the spread of flu to others. For example, their brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.

The flu season is from the end of October until the end of April.

Flu vaccine for children aged 2 to 12

COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccine

Parents or legal guardians of children aged 5 to 15 can register their child for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting your child the COVID-19 vaccine

If your child is sick before vaccination

If your child has a fever, vaccination should be delayed until they have recovered.

If your child gets sick after a vaccine

Common side effects after vaccination are redness and soreness where your baby got their injection. They might also become irritable.

A child may have a fever after MenB vaccination at 2 and 4 months. Infant liquid paracetamol is recommended at the 2 month and 4 month vaccinations.

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP if:

  • you are worried about your child after vaccination

There may be another reason they are sick.

How long vaccines take to work

It usually takes 2 weeks for vaccines to work. Your child will not be protected immediately.

Why your child needs more than 1 dose of a vaccine

Most vaccines need to be given several times to build up long-lasting protection.

For example if a child received only 1 or 2 doses of the whooping cough vaccine, the child is only partly protected. They may still catch whooping cough if the full course is not completed.

Booster doses are also recommended for some vaccines. The booster dose stimulates the immune system again and gives your child better long term protection.

Information:

More information

If you have questions about vaccines, talk to your GP or PHN.

More information on vaccines for your child on immunisation.ie

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 2 June 2022
Next review due: 2 June 2025