Vaccinations and newborn screening tests

One of the best ways to protect your baby against diseases like measles, rubella, tetanus and meningitis is through immunisation. Your baby needs their first injections at eight weeks, then 12 weeks, 16 weeks and one year.

Vaccinations are offered free of charge in the UK – just book your appointments with your GP. Remember, as well as protecting your own baby, you're also protecting other babies and children by preventing the spread of disease.

smiling baby

Coronavirus update

Newborn screening appointments and routine vaccinations for babies are continuing as normal.

It's important to go to your appointments unless you, your child or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus.

Find out what you do if you have a possible coronavirus infection.

Your baby's vaccinations

8 weeks:

12 weeks:

  • 6-in-1 vaccine – 2nd dose
  • PCV (pneumococcal) vaccine
  • RV (rotavirus) vaccine – 2nd dose

16 weeks:

  • 6-in-1 vaccine – 3rd dose
  • MenB vaccine – 2nd dose

1 year:

  • Hib/MenC vaccine given as a single jab containing vaccines against meningitis C (1st dose) and Hib (4th dose)
  • MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella), given as a single jab
  • PCV (pneumococcal) – 2nd dose
  • MenB vaccine – 3rd dose

Quick guide to your baby's vaccinations

  • 6-in-1 protects against:
    • Diphtheria – a highly contagious bacterial infection, spread by coughs and sneezes, or close contact with someone with diphtheria.
    • Hepatitis B – an infection of the liver caused by a virus spread through blood and bodily fluids.
    • Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) – bacteria that can cause several serious conditions including meningitis, sepsis (a kind of blood poisoning) and cellulitis.
    • Polio – a viral infection that can cause paralysis.
    • Tetanus – bacteria that can enter the body through a wound like a cut or scrape.
    • Whooping cough (pertussis) – highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs and airways.
  • PCV or pneumo jab protects against pneumococcal infections that can lead to pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis.
  • RV protects against rotavirus infection that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • MenB protects against meningitis and sepsis.
  • Hib/MenC protects against haemophilus influenzae (a bacterium that can cause different serious illnesses) and meningitis C.
  • MMR protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).

Newborn screening tests

You will be offered newborn screening tests for your baby soon after they are born. These screening tests are recommended by the NHS. This is because results from these tests can help make sure that your baby is given appropriate treatment as quickly as possible if needed.

It is important to think carefully whether you want to have these screening tests. Your decisions will be respected, and health care professionals will support you. Ask your midwife or doctor for more information about newborn screening

The red book

Your baby's Personal Child Health Record is also known as the red book or PCHR. 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 when your baby has appointments at the clinic, GP or hospital.

An online version – the eRedbook – is being trialled in some areas in the UK. Sign up via the link if you're interested in participating in the trial or being kept up–to–date with the developments.

Health and development checks

Your baby's health checks are very important – they are an opportunity to check that your baby is developing properly.

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

Your baby's very first health check takes place shortly after they are born, and they'll continue until your child is 2 to 2 1/2 years old.

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