DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine

The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine protects your child against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

Because babies can catch these serious diseases from birth, it is important to protect them as soon as possible. The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine is usually given to babies at two, three and four months of age.

A completed course of the vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

Your child should also have a Hib booster (in combination with MenC) between 12 and 13 months of age; boosters against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio from 3 years 4 months of age; and a further tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster between the ages of 12 and 18 years.

Questions and answers:

How effective is the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine?

Studies have shown that the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine is very effective in protecting your baby against these five serious diseases. Further doses are needed to extend this protection as your child grows up.

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What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can quickly cause breathing problems. It can damage the heart and nervous system and, in severe cases, can kill. Before the diphtheria vaccine was introduced in the UK, there were up to 70,000 cases of diphtheria a year, causing around 5,000 deaths.

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What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a disease affecting the nervous system that can lead to muscle spasms, cause breathing problems and even kill. It is caused when germs that are found in soil and manure get into the body through open cuts or burns. Tetanus cannot be passed from person to person.

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What is pertussis (whooping cough)?

Whooping cough is a disease that can cause long bouts of coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe. Whooping cough can last for up to ten weeks. Babies under one year of age are most at risk from whooping cough. For these babies, the disease is very serious and can kill. It is not usually as serious in older children. Before the pertussis vaccine was introduced, on average 120,000 cases of whooping cough were reported each year in the UK.

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What is polio?

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause permanent paralysis of the muscles. If it affects the chest muscles or the brain, polio can kill. Before the polio vaccine was introduced, there were as many as 8,000 cases of polio in the UK in epidemic years. Because of the continued success of the polio vaccination, there have been no cases of natural polio infection in the UK for over 20 years (the last case was in 1984).

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What is Hib?

Hib is an infection caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. It can lead to a number of major illnesses such as blood poisoning (septicaemia), pneumonia and meningitis. The Hib vaccine only protects your baby against the type of meningitis caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria – it does not protect against any other type of meningitis. The illnesses caused by Hib can kill if they are not treated quickly. Before the Hib vaccine was introduced, there were about 800 cases of Hib in young children every year in the UK. There are several types of meningitis (external link) that can be caused by bacteria and viruses.

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Are there any possible side effects?

Your baby might get some of the following side effects, which are usually mild.

  • It is normal for your baby to be upset for up to 48 hours after having the injection.
  • Your baby could develop a mild fever.
  • You might notice a small lump where your baby had the injection. This may last for a few weeks but will slowly disappear.

If you think your baby has had any other reaction to the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine and you are concerned about it, talk to your doctor, practice nurse or health visitor.

Parents and carers can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme. This can be done on-line by visiting www.yellowcard.gov.uk or by calling the free Yellow Card hotline on 0808 100 3352 (available Monday to Friday – 10 am to 2 pm).

Read more about the common side effects of immunisations that might occur in babies and young children up to five years of age.

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Last reviewed on 29 February 2016

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