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Changes to Childhood Immunisation 11 September 2006

The Isle of Man DHSS is introducing changes to the childhood immunisation schedule similar to those being introduced in the UK.

The main changes are:

  • addition of a new vaccine – Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) at 2, 4 and 13 months of age
  • reduction of Meningitis C vaccine from 3 to 2 doses (to be given at 3 and 4 months)
  • a booster dose of Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib) and Meningitis C vaccine (given as a single injection) at 12 months.

This means that:

  • Infants will be offered a different combination of vaccine at 2, 3 and 4 months
  • Three injections will be offered at 4 months of age (rather than two)
  • A new 12 month vaccination will be introduced

There will be a ‘catch-up’ campaign for children up to the age of 2 years.

The rationale for the changes:

  • Pneumococcal infection affects about 530 children under two years of age in England and Wales each year, of which about 50 die. Two thirds of the deaths are from pneumococcal meningitis.
  • The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) has been used in the USA since 2000 and the vaccine has reduced pneumococcal disease by 94%
  • Meningitis C: Men C vaccine used to be given as three doses (2, 3 and 4 months). The vaccine has a dramatic effect of lowering the disease in children by 90%. Research has shown that two doses of Men C vaccine provides the same level of protection as three.
  • The addition of the Men C/Hib Booster at 12 months will extend the protection offered by the vaccines throughout earlier childhood years.

Advice to Parents

  1. Your Doctor’s surgery will send you an invitation to get your child vaccinated; please take up this offer and ensure that your child is fully immunised.
  2. There is no need for any concern regarding either the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines.
  3. Vaccines DO NOT either overwhelm or weaken the immune system; they offer protection against serious and often life threatening illnesses.
  4. If you have any concerns about this vaccine or vaccination in general, please talk to your doctor, practice nurse or health visitor but PLEASE do not leave your child unvaccinated.

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