Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A guide for parents and carers


Protect your child now and in the future

Immunisations, also known as vaccinations are usually given by injection. Children in the UK are offered vaccinations against a variety of diseases as part of the Healthy Child Programme. You can get advice on the vaccinations from your GP, practice nurse or health visitor. A record is kept in the Parent Held Child Health Record (Red Book), which is a book you keep containing information on your child’s health.

Red Book

Immunisations are mainly given during the first five years. It’s important to have vaccinations at the right age to keep the risk of disease as low as possible. Don’t hesitate to ask your health visitor or GP for advice - that’s what they are there for! Childhood immunisations are free and most are given at your GP’s surgery.

Some immunisations are given more than once to make sure the protection continues. This is known as a booster, so make sure your child gets it.

If you are pregnant, you will be offered the whooping cough vaccine at your GP’s surgery. The ideal time is 28 to 32 weeks of pregnancy so that your baby will be born protected against whooping cough infection, a very serious infection for young babies.


GP says

Immunisations are essential to protect children from diseases which can be very serious, causing long-term complications and even death.

If you wish to have further information on childhood immunisations, visit or speak to your heath visitor, practice nurse or GP.

When to immunise Diseases protected against

Two months old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

  • Pneumococcal disease

  • Rotavirus

  • Meningitis B

Three months old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib

  • Meningococcal group C disease (MenC)

  • Rotavirus

Four months old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib

  • Pneumococcal disease

  • Meningitis B

Between 12 and 13 months old - within a month of the first birthday

  • Hib/MenC

  • Meningitis B

  • Pneumococcal disease

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)

Two to six year olds (including children in school years 1 and 2)

  • Influenza (flu) - nasal spray vaccine in autumn each year

Three years four months old or soon after

  • Measles, mumps and rubella

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio (Pre-School Booster)

* Babies should have a dose of liquid paracetamol following meningococcal group B disease vaccination to reduce the risk of fever.

Source: NHS Immunisation Information.


Immunisation begins at two months, when baby's natural immunity to illness, begins to drop.


The protection immunisations offer to your child against serious diseases are worth the small amount of pain.


Immunisations don’t just protect your child during childhood, they protect them for life.