The aim of vaccination is to decrease the spread of disease and ultimately eliminate infection.
Vaccination programmes across the world are already protecting large percentages of the population against disease.
Small pox has been completely eradicated due to a successful vaccination programme!
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism.
This agent is identified by the immune system once it enters the body, and the body mounts an immune response.
This stimulates the body’s immune-system to recognise the agent as foreign, destroy it and “remember” it, so that it can more easily recognise these microorganisms and destroy any that it later encounters.
Immunisation prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases.
By immunising significant proportions of the population, this also provides a measure of protection for those individuals who are not immune, this is known as herd immunity.
What informs parents’ decision making about child vaccinations?
There are several reasons that lead to parents’ hesitancy towards vaccination. These can include someone’s religious, personal and philosophical beliefs or a desire for additional information.
However, much of the anxiety about vaccines is based on myths and misinformation, particularly since a discredited paper was published about the MMR vaccine that has now been withdrawn.
Click here to find out more about the MMR vaccine.
The main thing to remember is that vaccination programmes are proven to be effective and long-lasting, with reassuring safety records that are backed by years of monitoring and research.
Very rare severe adverse reactions to vaccines are possible, but in the context of the diseases they are protecting against the risks are really low.
Which vaccines protect against meningitis?
There are lots of different causes for meningitis and therefore several different vaccines, so it can be quite complicated.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is an important cause of meningitis and blood poisoning in very young children, as is Meningococcus Group C, therefore Hib is part of the first immunisation schedule and the Hib/MenC vaccine is offered to all 1-year-old children.
Different types of meningitis tend to affect older children and so the MenACWY vaccine is offered to teenagers and university students, in order to protect against more forms of meningitis at key times of risk.
The MenB vaccine protects against meningococcal Group B bacteria, which are responsible for 90% of meningococcal infections in young children.
However, it was much more difficult to manufacture and so it was not introduced in UK until September 2015.
MenB vaccine is now offered as part of the current UK childhood vaccination programme, at 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year old.
However, if your child is more than 4 years old, they will have missed the introduction of the MenB vaccine and will not be protected.
It is hoped that the herd immunity resulting from the vaccination of other children will offer a degree of protection but some parents are choosing to pay privately to vaccinate their children against this most common cause of meningitis in young children.
What vaccinations do Pinches Medical and Wellbeing offer?
Pinches Medical and Wellbeing offers common childhood vaccinations, including the following: Meningitis B & ACWY, Hepatitis A & B, 6 in 1, HPV, pneumococcal, chicken pox and influenza.
They also offer all individual vaccines for those who choose this option, and if there is a vaccine or inoculation that is not listed on their website you can still enquire about availability.
Pinches is dedicated to providing high-quality advice and service. They are confident in the safety profiles of the vaccines that they offer and strongly support their use.
Please click here for a price list.