Dr Lucy Jessop
Consultant in Public Health Medicine, National Immunisations Lead,
National Immunisation Office
When children are in junior infants, they are offered the 4-in-1 and MMR vaccines, and when students are in first year, they are offered HPV, Tdap and MenACWY vaccines.
Each September, the HSE vaccinations teams offer the school vaccination programme in primary and second-level schools across the country to protect junior infants and first years against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines children should get
The 4-in-1 and MMR vaccines are boosters and diseases your child has already been vaccinated against when they were babies. The 4-in-1 vaccine protects against diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), and the MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella.
We have seen recent media from the UK and New York where polio is being reported. We know polio can cause paralysis. This can be worrying for parents. The best way to prevent cases of polio in Ireland is by getting vaccinated on time. The 4-in-1 vaccine (and the 6-in-1 vaccines given to babies at two, four and six months) are a very effective way of preventing polio.
The HPV vaccine protects against the HPV virus which can cause cancer in both girls and boys. Tdap vaccine protects against:
- Tetanus (tetanus toxin can cause painful muscle spasms and convulsions)
- Diphtheria (bacteria that can cause a sore throat and severe breathing difficulties)
- Pertussis (a bacteria also known as whooping cough and causes severe coughing and vomiting)
The MenACWY vaccine protects against four types of meningococcal disease which can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain) and/or septicaemia (blood poisoning).
We know meningococcal disease can affect people suddenly, and it’s always important to be vigilant for signs of meningitis and septicaemia. The other thing you can do is make sure your child gets vaccinated on time to give them the best protection.
We have seen recent media from the UK and New York where polio is being reported.
Tips to prepare your child for their vaccine
On the day of vaccination, we recommend that your child:
Eats breakfast. This will help to prevent them from feeling faint, which can sometimes happen after vaccination.
Wears a loose, short-sleeved top. If your school does not allow short-sleeved tops, consider adding a short-sleeved T-shirt under your child’s shirt so they can take their arm out of their shirt.
Brings their immunisation record card/immunisation passport to school, if they have one.