Vaccinations

3-in-1 teenage booster FAQs

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the 3-in-1 teenage booster jab.

Who should have the vaccination?

The 3-in-1 teenage booster vaccine is routinely offered on the NHS to all young people aged 14 (school year 9).

How is the 3-in-1 teenage booster given?

It's injected into the muscle of the upper arm.

If I was vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria and polio as a child, am I still protected?

You'll have some protection, but the booster vaccination will strengthen this and help keep you protected for many more years.

Can I get polio from the polio part of this vaccine?

The teenage booster vaccine contains dead (inactivated) polio virus, which can't cause polio.

How many boosters do I need to have?

In total, you need 5 doses of the tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccines through your childhood. This will build up and maintain your body's own immunity against these infections and protect you against the diseases.

You receive the first 3 doses as a baby in the 6-in-1 vaccine. The fourth dose is given around the age of 3 as a pre-school booster in the 4-in-1 vaccine, and the fifth and final dose is the teenage 3-in-1 booster given at age 14 (school year 9).

You'll usually only need an additional booster before travelling to some countries or if you have had a certain type of injury.

If you think you may have missed any of your doses, talk to your doctor, practice nurse or school nurse.

What are the most common side effects of the teenage 3-in-1 booster?

The most common side effect of the 3-in-1 teenage booster is swelling, tenderness and redness at the site of the injection. But this is usually mild and goes away quickly.

Read more about the possible side effects of the 3-in-1 teenage booster vaccine.

Is there anyone who shouldn't be given the 3-in-1 teenage booster?

There are very few young people who can't be given the booster.

But you shouldn't have the 3-in-1 teenage booster jab if you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose or an ingredient in the vaccine.

If you're ill with a fever, you should also postpone vaccination until you're better. This is so any symptoms of an existing illness can't be confused with an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Should I have any other vaccinations at the same time as the teenage booster?

You'll probably be offered the MenACWY vaccine at the same time as your 3-in-1 vaccine.

It's also a good opportunity to check with the doctor or nurse that all your other vaccinations are up-to-date, such as MMR.

If not, you can have these other routine childhood vaccinations at the same time as the 3-in-1 teenage booster.

For more information, visit the NHS vaccination schedule page.

Read more about immunisations for young people.

What does the 3-in-1 teenage booster contain?

It's what's known as a combined vaccine, and contains:

  • cleaned (purified) diphtheria toxoid (low dose)
  • cleaned (purified) tetanus toxoid
  • three types of killed (inactivated) polio virus

The 3-in-1 vaccine doesn't contain the mercury-based preservative thiomersal.

Read more about vaccine ingredients.

What should I do if I'm unwell after receiving the teenage booster jab?

If you have a fever of 38C or higher after the immunisation, you should take paracetamol or ibuprofen.

If your temperature is still high after the second dose of painkillers, speak to your GP or call NHS 111.

Remember, you shouldn't take medicines that contain aspirin if you're under 16.

Page last reviewed: 13/11/2017

Next review due: 13/11/2020

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