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What is the 5-in-One Vaccine?

At two, three and four months, your baby will be called to have the 5-in-0ne or DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine, but what is it for and why does your baby need it?

Posted: 7 January 2009
by Laura Lee Davies

From birth there are various vaccinations offered for your baby. You have the right to choose whether or not you take these up, but almost all are strongly recommended. If you have any concerns regarding the vaccinations themselves or if your baby has a medical condition which may make vaccinations at a certain time inadvisable, your GP will be able to discuss this with you before you go ahead.
However, the 5-in-One is a very routine series of vaccinations and most babies do not suffer severe side effects from them.

The 5-in-one (DTaP/IPV/Hib) vaccine PLUS the PCV vaccine
The 5-in-one vaccine was introduced in the UK in 2004, but has been used in Canada since 1997. The single injection is given to babies at 2, 3 and 4 months and then repeated sometime between 3 and 5 years.
NB At the same time as the two-month and four-month 5-in-One appointments the PCV injection against flu is also given. At the three-month appointment, the MenC injection (against Meningitis C) is given as well as the 5-in-one.

The 5-in-one

  • Diptheria - Now rare in the UK because of a programme of childhood immunisations since the 1940s, the highly contagious disease is still a problem in other parts of the world, with several recent epidemics, and is most often picked up when travelling. The disease begins with a sore throat and affects the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, voice box and upper windpipe), the heart and nervous systems and, sometimes, the skin. It's a very serious disease that affects all ages and can be fatal.

  • Tetanus - Tetanus-causing bacteria usually enter the body through a wound such as a cut or animal bite, and are often found in soil or on plants. If you are not immune to the illness it affects your nerves and muscles and can be fatal. Immunisation is the only way to protect against tetanus and the immunisation programme has been very successful in making it a rare illness. A full course of tetanus immunisation consists of five doses of vaccine, which your child will have completed by the time he or she leaves school.

  • Pertussis (Whooping cough) - Pertussis is a serious disease for babies under six months, and can be fatal, which is why babies are immunised very early on. For older children and adults the illness is less serious, but still unpleasant with long periods of coughing followed by vomiting and choking, that can last for several weeks. Thanks to a widespread programme of immunisation the disease is no longer very common in the UK, but it still poses a risk to your baby if s/he is not immunised.

  • Polio - Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system, it used to be the most common cause of paralysis in young people and can be fatal. The long-running vaccination programme has meant that polio is now extremely rare in the UK, however, it is still a problem in several developing countries, such as India.

  • Hib ('Haemophilus Influenzae') - Hib is a highly infectious bacteria that can lead to several serious illnesses such as epiglottitis, blood poisoning, pneumonia and meningitis.

Read more about how you can prepare for vaccinations and care for your baby afterwards.

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