Childhood vaccinations

Vaccination is still the subject of controversy and the Paediatrician’s role is to inform parents clearly about their options.

The prevention of infectious diseases is based primarily on a precise vaccination schedule.

Immunisation programmes have dramatically reduced mortality in particular for diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles and pneumococcal disease.

Whichever vaccination schedule you decide to follow (British, American, French…) it is important to “stick to it”. At the very least infants should be vaccinated at 2 months against Diphteria, Tetanus, Polio, Whooping cough, Hib and pneumococcus.

Below is the vaccine schedule recommended by  Dr Anne Buk-Serero.

 

AgeMain VaccinesRecommendedOptional
2 months

D, T, Polio, Whooping cough, Hib, HepB

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Meningitis B

Rotavirus

4 months

D, T, Polio, Whooping cough, Hib, HepB

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Meningitis B
Rotavirus
11 monthsD, T, Polio, Whooping cough, Hib, HepBPneumococcal conjugate vaccine 
12 months1st dose MMR

Meningitis C

Meningitis B

Chicken pox
16 months2nd dose MMR Chicken pox 
6 yearsD, T, Polio, Whooping cough  
11-13 yearsD, T, Polio, Whooping cough

HPV 1

HPV 2 (1-2 months later)

HPV 3 (6-7 months later)
 

 

A few comments

Whooping cough vaccine: vaccination is recommended in pregnant women at the beginning of the second trimester. It is also recommended to vaccinate the adults who will be in close contact with the new born baby (father, nanny…). This will protect the child until he can be vaccinated.

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine: recommended at 12 months with a booster in the second year of life (French schedule) or 4 years (British schedule).

Meningitis C vaccine: Those who have received a first dose before the age of 5 should receive a booster between the ages of 11 and 24. Apart from childhood, meningococcal C infections occur most frequently during adolescence so optimal protection is desirable at that time.

Meningitis B vaccine: 70% of Meningococcal meningitis is due to meningococcus B. There are two peaks of incidence: before 1 year and in adolescence. Two doses are recommended at 3 and 5 months with a booster in the second year.

Influenza (flu) vaccine: this is generally recommended for infants with asthma or at risk of developing complications of influenza, as well as in pregnant women. The vaccine is generally effective 2 weeks after the injection and for about 6 months. It is possible to vaccine infants from 6 months. Between 6 and 36 months half of the adult dose is given. The flu vaccine also comes as a nasal spray instead of an injection.

The above vaccinations do not include any travel vaccinations (hepatitis A, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, etc).

Hepatitis A vaccine: Vaccination is possible from the age of 1 year: 2 doses at least 6 months apart give prolonged immunity and no booster is needed. Children over 1 year of age not yet vaccinated against hepatitis B can receive a combined vaccine for hepatitis A and B.