If you have a child, you will know that from the word go, your life will be one great succession of doctor’s appointments and childhood vaccinations. There is nothing worse than seeing your child or baby have needles stuck into their body, but you know that it is vital to go through that, since the children vaccination protects your child’s life. Let’s take a look at the standard vaccines that are given to children in the UK and in the US, before taking a little bit of time to look at the big vaccination controversy, which is still relevant today.
Vaccinations Given to Children in the UK
Vaccines for children in the UK are as follows: babies that are two months old are given the 5-in-1 vaccine, which covers tetanus, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough and haemophilus influenza type B. They are also given a vaccination against pneumococcal infection. At three months, they are given another dose of the 5-in-1 and meningitis C. Then, at four months, they get their third dose of 5-in-1, a second dose of meningitis C and another dose of pneumococcal infection. When they are around one year old, they have a meningitis C and Hib booster. They are also given the MMR vaccine and the third dose of pneumococcal infection. When they are three years and four months old, they are due another MMR jab and their pre-school booster, which protects against tetanus, polio, diphtheria and pertussis. For girls, when they are 12 or 13 years old, they are given the HPV vaccine, which offers protection against cervical cancer. Between 13 and 18 years old, all children are given the 3-in-1 teenage booster, the last of the childhood vaccines, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and polio.
Vaccinations Given to Children in the US
Vaccines for children in the US are as follows: babies are given their first vaccination at birth, being the Hep B. Then, at two months, they are given their first 5-in-1 and their second Hep B. At four months, they are given their second 5-in-1. At six months, they are given their third 5-in-1 and their third Hep B, as well as their first influenza childhood immunizations. At 12 months, they are given their first MMR, another dose of PCV and Hib (normally part of the 5-in-1), HepA and aVaricella, as well as another dose of influenza. At 15 months, they are given their DTaP as well as yet another dose of influenza. The influenza vaccine is then repeated yearly. Between four and six years, they receive another DTaP, IPV, MMR and Varicella. Then, for teens, they receive the same as children in the UK, but also Hepatitis A and MCV4.
The Vaccination Controversy
As you can see, there are only small differences between the two countries. The UK does not vaccinate against Hep A, because this illness is not native in the UK. However, Hep A is often a recommended vaccine for those travelling abroad. The UK does also not vaccinate against influenza as standard, only offering this particular vaccine to those who are at high risk.
The big controversy lies, at the moment, mainly around the MMR vaccine, which is still believed by some to cause Autism. This is the biggest controversy surrounding children and vaccines. It is known that these reports are false and that MMR does not, by any means, cause Autism. Another issue with vaccines, however, is that they often contain mercury, which is a poisonous substance and can cause quite serious problems. In terms of the HPV vaccine, some people feel that this is an unnecessary vaccination for children that actually does not offer any protection because it will have worn off by the time cervical cancer starts to develop. Choosing to give your child childhood immunizations or not is ultimately a personal decision. However, a worrying trend is that certain illnesses that were long thought to be extinct have suddenly started to real their ugly heads again because so many people are choosing not to vaccinate their children.