What does the 5-in-1 vaccination protect against?
Tetanus is a condition caused when bacteria found in soil and manure enters the body through cuts, burns or other open wounds. Symptoms include painful muscle spasms, fever and a rapid heartbeat. The disease cannot be passed from person to person but can be fatal if left untreated.
Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially fatal bacterial infection that can cause breathing difficulties, problems with the nervous system and heart damage. The first sign of diphtheria is usually a sore throat.
This serious viral infection may result in temporary or permanent paralysis and is life-threatening in some cases. Polio can also cause deformities such as twisted legs or feet. There is no cure for the disease at present, so vaccination is highly important.
Whooping cough can cause long bursts of coughing and choking, often resulting in difficulty breathing. The infection, which is very contagious and commonly lasts between two and three months, can be particularly serious in babies under one year of age. In severe cases it can lead to pneumonia, permanent brain damage and occasionally death.
Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B)
Hib bacteria can cause several serious infections and is very dangerous in young children. Meningitis is the most severe illness that can occur as a result of the bacteria; however septicaemia (blood poisoning) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) can also prove fatal.
Who should be vaccinated?
Babies should be given the 5-in-1 vaccine three times: at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks of age. It is essential that all three doses are provided to maximise the immune response.
How safe is the 5-in-1 vaccine?
The vaccine is very safe – it contains inactivated bacteria and viruses and so cannot cause any of the diseases that it is protecting babies from. There are a few possible side effects, such as redness and swelling at the injection site (the thigh), though these are mild and usually short-lived.
Can it be given at the same time as other vaccines?
Yes, it is safe for the 5-in-1 vaccine to be injected at the same time as others, including the rotavirus, pneumococcal and Men B vaccines.