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Vaccinations

Why vaccinate your kids?

As a parent, you may not like seeing your baby or child being given an injection. However, vaccination will help protect them against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases.

There are three good reasons to have your child vaccinated:

  • vaccinations are quick, safe and extremely effective
  • once your child has been vaccinated against a disease, their body can fight it off better
  • if a child isn't vaccinated, they're at higher risk of catching  and becoming very ill from  the illness

There will always be some children who are unavoidably unprotected because:

  • they can't be vaccinated for medical reasons
  • they're too young to be vaccinated
  • they can't get to the vaccine clinics
  • the vaccine doesn't work (although this is rare)

However, if more parents have their children vaccinated, then more children in the community will be protected against an illness. This lowers the chance of a measles outbreak.

Can you overload a child's immune system?

You may be concerned that too many vaccines at a young age could "overload" your child's immune system, but this really isn't the case. Studies have shown that vaccines don't weaken a child's immune system.

As soon as a baby is born, they come into contact with a huge number of different bacteria and viruses every day, and their immune system copes well.

The bacteria and viruses used in vaccines are weakened or killed, and there are far fewer of them than the natural bugs that babies and children come into contact with.

In fact, if a child was given 11 vaccines all at the same time, it would only use a thousandth of their immune system!

Watch this short animation to find out more.

Find out about vaccine safety

Read these articles to find out more about vaccine safety, plus the risks and benefits:

Vaccine risks and benefits

How do I know that vaccination is safe?

Vaccine ingredients

Vaccine myths and truths

Measles: Rachel’s story

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can cause fever, coughing and distinctive red-brown spots on the skin. Rachel’s daughter Lola contracted measles at the age of three. In this video, Rachel describes Lola's symptoms, how she was finally diagnosed with measles and the treatments she received.

Media last reviewed: 03/05/2016

Next review due: 03/05/2018

Page last reviewed: 07/04/2016

Next review due: 07/04/2018

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When to have your vaccinations

Find out which vaccinations are routinely offered on the NHS and at what age they are needed

Measles outbreak: what to do

MMR vaccination is the only prevention. Find out how to protect yourself and your family

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