Childhood Vaccinations - Essential information

You want to do what is best for your child. You know about the importance of car seats, stair gates and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect them is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?

  • Immunizations can save your child’s life: some diseases continue to harm or kill children across the world. Don’t let your child be one of them.
  • Vaccinations are very safe and effective: vaccines are only licensed for children after long and careful development and testing by researchers and doctors. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Fever can be expected after any vaccination, but is more common with the Men B vaccine. Giving paracetamol soon after Men B vaccination – and not waiting for a fever to develop – will reduce the risk of your child having a fever. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare.
  • Immunization protects others you care about: some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination and others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukaemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
  • Click here for common myths about vaccines.

All children between 2 and 11 years (year 6) of age should receive the children's flu vaccine. This is not only to stop them getting unwell with flu, but also to stop them spreading flu to other members of your family.

There are other groups of children with long-term health conditions that should have the flu vaccine every year. This includes children with weakened immune systems (including those on steroids or with problems with their spleen), chronic heart or lung problems, diabetes, asthma, chronic kidney or liver disease. It is especially important that these children are vaccinated because they have the greatest risk of becoming very unwell if they get flu. Children aged from 6 months to 2 years who are at risk from complications of flu should be given the inactivated (injected) flu vaccine rather than the intranasal vaccine.

Common myths about flu and the flu vaccine

'Flu isn't serious, so my child doesn't need a flu vaccine' and 'My children never get ill, so they don't need the vaccine'

It is tempting to think that flu is no worse than a bad cold, but in fact it is a serious disease which can infect anyone. For people at risk of complications, flu can lead to hospitalisation or even death. Flu leads to hundreds of thousands of GP visits and tens of thousands of hospital stays a year.

'Last year my children had the flu vaccine but they got ill anyway, so it doesn't work'

No vaccine is 100% effective, including the flu vaccine. However, the vaccine usually prevents about half of all flu cases. For people who get flu after being vaccinated, the disease is often less severe than it would have been. It is important to remember that the flu vaccine only protects against flu, but there are other illnesses which have flu-like symptoms which you can still catch after getting the flu vaccine. It takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so you could still catch flu if you are exposed to the virus during this time. Getting vaccinated as early as possible in the season can help to prevent this.

Use this video to explain to your child why they are having the flu vaccine

2 - 3 Year Old Flu

Flu spreads easily, and with society getting back to normal it is likely that flu rates will be higher this year. People of any age can get flu, but children have the highest rate of infection. It is very important to protect your child from flu to make sure they stay as healthy as possible.

The best way to help stop the spread of Flu is by having a Flu vaccine. The vaccine is a nasal spray that goes up each nostril (like a little bit like water). It's simple and painless and protects your child and also helps reduce the chance of them spreading flu to others who are at greater risk, such as grandparents, and those with long-term health conditions.

Contact your child’s GP to arrange an appointment.

For more information about flu visit 
lechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru 2022 © Public Health Wales NHS Trust 2027

or phone NHS 111 Wales on 111 or visit:

Note: There are a very small number of children who should not have the nasal flu vaccine, for more information please visit:

FIVE reasons to vaccinate your child against flu. Click here!

For a detailed schedule of Childhood Immunisations please click here

HPV (human papillomavirus) a very common virus. More than 70% of people who haven’t had the HPV vaccine will contract the virus at some point in their life. HPV can lead to a range of cancers and some people may also develop genital warts. Getting the vaccine now protects you against future risks.

HPV is usually spread through intimate sexual contact and condoms don't provide complete protection from HPV.

The HPV vaccine is offered to:

  • boys and girls aged 12 to 13 (school year 8) in school during the summer term, and
  • those who may have missed their vaccination but are still eligible up to the age of 25 (That is, boys who were in school year 8 on or after 1 September 2019 and girls who became eligible for the vaccine on or after 1 September 2008.) 

The vaccine is available through specialist sexual-health services and HIV clinics to men who are 45 or younger and who are gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). 

What do I need to do to get my child this vaccine?

If your child attends secondary school, they will be given a paper consent form to take home for a parent/guardian to sign and returned to school as soon as possible.

Children and young people who are home-schooled or not currently attending school can have the HPV vaccine at their GP surgery by making an appointment with the practice nurse.

Changes to the HPV vaccination programme from 1 September 2023

In previous years, the vaccine was given as two doses. Evidence now shows one dose provides young people with the same level of protection as the previous two doses. This change (from two doses) will happen in England and Wales from 1 September 2023.

The HPV vaccine is highly effective at protecting against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer.

For more information about HPV including FAQs visit: HPV vaccine - Public Health Wales (

Unfortunately, as these vaccine preventable infections become less and less common, social media coverage on vaccines increasingly focuses on their side effects and adverse reactions. Although there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the MMR vaccine is associated with an increased risk of autism, misinformation about this has directly resulted in unnecessary parental anxiety and a significant drop in MMR vaccine uptake. Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increasing number of cases of measles in the UK and across Europe. This has resulted in severe illness and even deaths in a number of adults and children. Even if you think your child will be protected by herd immunity (other people being vaccinated around them), this is no longer the case with MMR because far less than the required 95% of the population are being vaccinated. In addition, if your child was to travel to another country (even when they are an adult) or come into contact with someone with measles who is visiting from abroad, they will be completely unprotected and may contract the infection (LINK). Unfortunately, measles is highly infectious and is spread by water droplets, coughed or sneezed by infected individuals.

For more information about the safety of the MMR vaccine and parent stories, click here

It’s normal to have questions about any medication that you’re giving to your child and vaccines are no exception. The most common questions that parents ask are:

Why should I have my child vaccinated?

Won’t herd immunity protect them? Herd immunity does not protect against all diseases. The best example of this is tetanus, which is caught from bacteria in the environment, not from other people who have the disease. In addition, for herd immunity to work properly, most people in the population need to be vaccinated. There are low vaccination rates in some parts of the UK and in some communities, as well as in many overseas countries. This means that if your child is not vaccinated, it is quite likely that many of the people they come into contact with will not be vaccinated either. So if one person gets an infectious disease, it can spread quickly through all the unvaccinated people in the group (this happened during the 2013 measles outbreak in Wales).


Won’t having several vaccines at the same time overload my baby’s immune system?

Parents often worry that a child’s immune system will not be able to cope with several vaccines at once. In fact, even a tiny baby’s immune system can cope easily. Starting from birth, babies come into contact with millions of germs every day. It is estimated that the human body contains enough white blood cells to cope with thousands of vaccines at any one time. If a child was given 11 vaccines at once, it would only use about a thousandth of the immune system. It is not a good idea to delay vaccinations to ‘spread the load’, because it leaves the child unprotected against serious diseases for longer.

How do I know that vaccines are safe?

All vaccines go through a long and thorough process of development and testing before they are licensed for use. Vaccines have to be tested on adults and children separately before they can be used for different age groups; this is because vaccines that work in adults may not work so well in children. No vaccines are tested on children before they have been fully tested on adults. Click here for more information about vaccine safety and side effects.

Click here for more information about common questions, concerns and comments that people have about vaccines

Improving the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, infants, children and young people throughout Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Area.

(N.B: The Family and Therapies team at ABUHB is NOT responsible for the content on the webpage links that we refer to in our resource sections and linked information to external sites. All information was accurate and appropriate at the time the webpage was created.)

Accessibility tools