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Dr Anna Maw
Consultant pediatrician at Cambridge University NHS Trust in the UK. A child doctor specializing in brain development and neurology. She has three children.
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Baby health

Immunisations timeline

These are the routine vaccinations that are offered free of charge on the NHS to all babies and children in the UK.
In Short

Common side effects after an immunization

After an immunisation, your baby may cry for a little while, but that usually settles soon with a breastfeed or a cuddle. Most babies don’t have any other reaction.

Reactions at the site of the injection

Some babies have some swelling, redness or a small hard lump where the injection was given and it may be tender. This usually only lasts a few days and doesn’t need any medical treatment.


A fever is a temperature over 37.5°C

If your baby has a fever after an immunisation:

make sure they don’t have too much clothing or bedding on them, and

give them plenty of cool fluids

do not put them in a bath, sponge them down or put a fan on them

Common side effects after the MenB immunisation

Fever can be expected after any vaccination but is very common when the MenB vaccine is given. The good news is that this fever shows the baby’s body is responding to the vaccine, although not getting a fever doesn’t mean it hasn’t worked.

The level of fever depends on each individual baby and does not reflect how well the vaccine has worked. Giving liquid paracetamol will reduce the risk of fever, irritability and general discomfort (including pain at the site of the injection) after vaccination.

After each of the two MenB immunisations, you will need to give your baby a total of three doses of paracetamol (2.5ml of infant paracetamol 120mg/5ml suspension) to help prevent and reduce any potential fever.

  • Give the first dose of paracetamol as soon as possible after the immunization is given.
  • Then give the second dose 4-6 hours later.
  • Give the third dose 4-6 hours after the second dose.

Common side effects after the MMR immunisation

MMR is made up of three different vaccines/immunisations (measles, mumps and rubella) and each can each cause reactions at different times after the injection.

  • 6-10 days later the measles vaccine starts to work and may cause a fever, a measles-like rash, and loss of appetite. Individuals with vaccine-associated symptoms are not infectious to others.
  • 2-3 weeks after the injection the mumps vaccine may cause mumps-like symptoms in some children (fever and swollen glands).
  • 12-14 days later, the rubella vaccine may cause a brief rash and possibly a slightly raised temperature, however, a rash may also rarely occur up to six weeks later.

If you are worried about your child, trust your instincts. Speak to your doctor or call the NHS on 111.

Call the doctor immediately if, at any time, your child has a temperature of 39-40°C or above, or has a fit.

If the surgery is closed and you can’t contact your doctor, trust your instincts and go to the nearest hospital with an emergency department.

If you are still worried about your baby’s reaction to any vaccination, speak to your practice nurse or GP.

Vaccine safety

Before vaccines are introduced, they have to be licensed by the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency which assesses their safety and efficacy.

Once they have been introduced into the programme of scheduled immunisations on the NHS, their safety continues to be constantly monitored so that any new side effects are quickly noticed and investigated.

If you would like more information on the safety of vaccines/immunisations visit –

Here is a link to information on side effects –

Can I take my baby swimming around their immunisations

You can take your baby swimming at any age, both before and after they have been vaccinated. It doesn’t matter if they haven’t yet completed their course of vaccinations.

A summary of the routine and optional vaccinations offered free on the NHS in the UK.

5-in-1 vaccine

Protects against: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)

Given at: 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age

Pneumococcal or pneumo jab (PCV)

Protects against: some types of pneumococcal infection

Given at: 8 weeks, 16 weeks and one year of age

Rotavirus vaccine

Protects against: rotavirus infection, a common cause of childhood diarrhoea and sickness

Given at: 8 and 12 weeks of age

Men B vaccine

Protects against: meningitis (caused by meningococcal type B bacteria)

Given at: 8 weeks, 16 weeks and one year of age

Hib/Men C vaccine

Protects against: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningitis caused by meningococcal group C bacteria

Given at: one year of age

MMR vaccine

Protects against: measles, mumps and rubella

Given at: one year and at three years and four months of age

Children’s flu vaccine

Protects against: flu

Given at: annually as a nasal spray in September/October for ages two, three and four and children in primary school years one, two and three

4-in-1 pre-school booster

Protects against: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio

Given at: three years and four months of age

HPV vaccine (girls only)

Protects against: cervical cancer

Given at: 12-13 years as two injections at least six months apart

3-in-1 teenage booster

Protects against: tetanus, diphtheria and polio

Given at: 14 years

Optional vaccinations

These vaccinations are offered on the NHS in addition to the routine programme to “at-risk” groups of babies and children

Chickenpox vaccination

Protects against: chickenpox

Who needs it: siblings of children who have suppressed immune systems and are susceptible to chickenpox, for example, because they’re having cancer treatment or have had an organ transplant.

Given: from one year of age upwards. Children receive two doses of chickenpox vaccine given four to eight weeks apart.

BCG (tuberculosis) vaccination

Protects against: tuberculosis (TB)

Who needs it: babies and children who have a high chance of coming into contact with tuberculosis

Given: from birth to 16 years of age

Flu vaccination

Protects against: flu

Who needs it: children with certain medical conditions or a weakened immune system, which may put them at risk of complications from flu

Given: for children between the ages of six months and two years as a single jab every year in September/November.

For children aged two to 17 years of age as a nasal spray every year in September/November

Hepatitis B vaccination

Protects against: hepatitis B

Who needs it: children at high risk of exposure to hepatitis B, and babies born to infected mothers

Given: at any age, as four doses are given over 12 months – a baby born to a mother infected with hepatitis B will be offered a dose at birth, one month of age, two months of age and one year of age.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.