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Vaccines for your child

Vaccinations are quick, safe and effective. They protect your baby from some serious or even fatal diseases. Your child will get vaccines at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 13 months.

Vaccinating your baby will protect them from some serious or even fatal diseases. This is sometimes called immunising or immunisation. 

How vaccines work

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

When your child gets a vaccine, their body responds by making antibodies. It's as if they had caught the disease, but without getting sick.

The antibodies then stay in your child's body and protect them against the actual disease.

Vaccine safety

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

But remember, vaccinations:

  • are quick, safe and effective
  • protect your baby from disease

If you don't vaccinate your child, there is a chance they could become very ill, or even die. This can happen if they catch one of the diseases that the vaccines protect them from.

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

Vaccines your child will get

At 2 months

6-in-1 vaccine

  1. Diphtheria
  2. Tetanus
  3. Whooping cough (pertussis)
  4. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae b)
  5. Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis)
  6. Hepatitis B

At 4 months

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

At 6 months

  • 6-in-1 vaccine
  • PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)
  • MenC vaccine (meningococcal C vaccine)

At 12 months

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

At 13 months

  • Hib/MenC (Haemophilus influenzae b and meningococcal C combined vaccine)
  • PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)

The HSE's National Immunisation Office has more information on your child's vaccines and immunisation schedule.

Vaccine side effects

Common side effects after vaccination are redness, soreness or swelling where your baby got their injection. Your baby might also become irritable.

Fever is a common side effect after MenB vaccination at 2 and 4 months. Liquid infant paracetamol should be given straight after the vaccine.

Side effects from the vaccines are usually mild and do not last very long.

If your child is very unwell after vaccination, there may be some other reason for the sickness. Talk to your GP about this.

How often you need to visit the GP

Your child needs 5 visits to your GP between 2 to 13 months to complete their course of vaccinations. This will protect them against serious illnesses.

How long vaccines take to work

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

Also, most vaccines need to be given several times to build up long-lasting protection. For example, a child who gets only 1 or 2 doses of the whooping cough vaccine is only partly protected. They may still catch whooping cough if the course is not completed.

Why your child needs more than one dose of a vaccine

More than 1 dose of the same vaccine is given in the first few years of a child's life. The extra doses improve the antibody response and give better long-term protection.

Booster doses of some vaccines are also given to school children to give better long-term protection.

More information

You can get more information from immunisation.ie

Contact the National Immunisation Office at immunisation@hse.ie

Page last reviewed: 15/03/2018
Next review due: 15/03/2021