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Vaccinations for children

One of the best ways to protect your child against diseases like measles, rubella, tetanus and meningitis is through immunisations.

As well as protecting your own child, you're also protecting others by preventing the spread of disease.

Vaccinations are offered free of charge in the UK – just book your appointments with your GP.

NHS vaccination schedule

1 year

2 to 10 or 11 years

3 years and 4 months

Children's flu vaccine

The children's flu vaccine is given as a spray squirted up each nostril. It's quick and painless. It helps protect your child from flu and reduces the chance of them spreading it.

If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.

Flu symptoms

Children can catch and spread the flu easily. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • aching muscles
  • headache
  • stuffy nose
  • dry cough
  • sore throat

Flu is caused by the influenza virus. It can be a very unpleasant illness for children.

It can also lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Read about when your child should have the flu vaccine on the NHS website.

Your child's Personal Child Health Record or 'red book'

Your child's Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) is also known as the "red book". It's used to record your child's weight and height, vaccinations they've been given and other important health information.

You can also add information yourself – it's a great way of keeping track of your child's progress.

Remember to take it with you for appointments at the clinic, GP or hospital.

An online version is available in some areas in the UK.

Health and development checks

Health checks are usually carried out by your health visitor either at home, your GP surgery, baby clinic or children's centre. They are a good opportunity for you to raise any concerns you might have.

Your child's very first health check takes place shortly after they're born, and they continue until they are 2.

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