Nicky Smith is our Health Inequalities Nurse
Why should you immunise your baby?
Today we’re talking about immunising your baby. Why is it so important?
There’s a big list of reasons why… immunising your baby helps protect against serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as:
- pneumococcal infections: these can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis
- whooping cough
- meningococcal infections: these cause a range of serious, life-threatening diseases including septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis.
Scary stuff isn’t it?
You may be concerned that your tiny 8 week old baby won’t be able to cope with vaccines. But starting from the moment they’re born, babies come into contact with millions of germs every day. It’s estimated that the human body can cope with thousands of vaccines at any one time. If a baby was given 11 vaccines at once, it would only use about a thousandth of their immune system to deal with it. Even premature babies immune systems can cope with vaccinations.
It’s not a good idea to delay vaccinations to ‘spread the load’, because it leaves your baby unprotected against serious diseases for longer.
Maybe you’re worried about the side effects. Well there may be a couple – a high temperature or red bump where the injection was given – but they will be very mild and won’t last longer than 1 or 2 days. Seems a small price to pay to avoid that list of diseases earlier doesn’t it?
We also know that there’s lots of anti-vaccine stories on social media. Be very wary of reading these. They’re not likely to be based on any scientific research.
Vaccines during COVID-19
We know there’s lots of concern and confusion about when you can or should go to your GP practice during COVID-19 for your baby’s routine immunisations.
The routine immunisation schedule is still being followed. Your GP practice will be taking all the necessary safety precautions to ensure that you, your baby and their staff are all fully protected. You’ll be given instructions on how your GP practice will be managing this when book an appointment, so please don’t worry.
During this current health crisis, it’s as important as ever that we vaccinate our babies so that we avoid outbreaks of preventable diseases. An outbreak would put extra pressure on health services as more people would need help. And we need to do all we can to make sure we protect the vulnerable in society.
If you’d like more information
If you have any concerns or queries about immunisations please talk to your health visitor or GP.
Visit the NHS site for more information on why vaccinations are so important. You can look at the UK vaccination schedule on the NHS Choices site, and The Oxford Vaccine Group has lots of frequently asked questions.
All the evidence states that vaccinating your baby is much safer than not vaccinating. Please stay safe.