The UK Routine Childhood Immunization Programme

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Chapter: Pharmaceutical Microbiology : Vaccination And Immunization

The timing of the various components of the childhood vaccination programme is subject to continual review.


THE UK ROUTINE CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMME

 

The timing of the various components of the childhood vaccination programme is subject to continual review. In the 1960s, the primary course of DTP vaccination consisted of three doses given at 3, 6 and 12 months of age, together with OPV. This separation gave adequate time for the levels of induced antibody to decline between successive doses of the vaccines. Current recommendations (Table 10.1) accelerate the vaccination programme with no reductions in its efficacy. Thus, the MMR vaccination has replaced separate measles and rubella prophylaxis and BCG vaccination may now be given at birth, but only for infants living in areas of the UK where the annual incidence of TB is 40 per 100 000 or greater and those with familial or other links to high-risk countries. DTaP vaccination occurs at 2, 3 and 4 months to coincide with administration of Hib and IPV. It is imperative that as many individuals as possible benefit from the vaccination programme. Fewer visits to the doctor’s surgery translate into improved patient compliance and less like-lihood of epidemic spread of the diseases in question. The current recommendations minimize the number of separate visits to the clinic while attempting to maximize the protection generated.


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