On 1 April 2011, the childhood immunisation schedule will change to make it simpler and easier for parents, to protect babies at an earlier stage. The change consists of combining the visits that are currently made at 12 months of age, when children receive a combined Hib and Meningococcal C vaccine, and the visit at 13 months of age when they receive their first MMR and pneumococcal booster vaccine. These vaccines will now be combined into one visit, which will take place just after the child’s first birthday.
This change is a result of recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the independent expert advisory group that advises all four UK Health Departments.
These vaccines have been scheduled into one visit instead of two, to make the process simpler and to protect your baby earlier. Research with parents has shown that they would welcome the combining of the two visits into one visit. Research has also shown that it will be safe and effective to give all the vaccines at one visit.
Dr Richard Smithson, Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health Agency said: “We have excellent uptake rates for childhood vaccines in Northern Ireland. However, our MMR uptake rates, whilst very good, could do with being improved a bit further still, to hit the 95% target which the World Health Organization recommends. It is hoped that by combining the two visits and making the process simpler for parents this will help contribute to moving towards that target.”
For more information visit: www.publichealth.hscni.net
Contact PHA Press Office on 028 9031 1611
Notes to the editor
- The change in age for the childhood immunisation schedule will come into affect on 1 April 2011.
- Latest uptake figures for the vaccines affected – MMR 91.8% (UK average 89.4%), pneumococcal booster 92.4% (UK 89.8%) and combined Hib/Meningococcal C 93.4% (UK 91.7%).