Single and small combination baby vaccines: FAQs

Unlicensed vaccines

Are the vaccines you offer licensed for use in the UK?
The vaccines offered at BabyJabs include some that are licensed for use in the UK and others that are unlicensed.
Are doctors allowed to give unlicensed vaccines?
Yes, if they feel that there is no satisfactory licensed alternative. Doctors often use unlicensed medicines. For example, 7% of all hospital prescriptions for children are for unlicensed drugs.
What are the implications of the vaccines being unlicensed?
This means that they have not passed through the Department of Health's quality control procedures. It also means that they have to be ordered on a 'named patient' basis. This requires that each vaccine be ordered for an individual named child with the clinical reasons that the vaccine is needed.
My child is healthy. What would the clinical reason be to order the single vaccines for my child?
If, after informed consideration, you refuse to allow your child to be given the vaccines recommended by the NHS, then your child remains unprotected against various diseases. The only way to protect your child in these circumstances is to give him or her alternative vaccines, which may be unlicensed. This is the clinical indication.
Are they 'licensed' for use in other countries?
Yes, they are all licensed for use in one or more countries including their country of manufacture.
Are your vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation?
All the vaccines we offer at BabyJabs are approved by the World Health Organisation.
Are your vaccines the same as those used by the NHS?
Some such as the PCV and Men B are identical. Others are different because the NHS gives a large number in a 6-in-1 combination vaccine. However the strength and effectiveness of our vaccines are similar to those used on the NHS.

Manufacture, transport and storage

Where are the vaccines you offer manufactured?
They are all manufactured in Western Europe, North America or India by large multinational pharmaceutical companies. See the separate vaccine information sheet for more information on this.
How are the vaccines transported to your clinic?
They are imported by companies that specialise in importing drugs from abroad and have approval from the Department of Health (DoH) to import the vaccines. They arrive at our premises in temperature-controlled conditions.
How do you store the vaccines?
They are stored in temperature-controlled fridges especially designed for vaccine storage.
How long can the vaccines be stored?
The 'shelf life' or expiry date will vary from batch to batch, but is usually a year or longer. Vaccines are never used after their expiry date.
Do the vaccines contain mercury or aluminium?
At BabyJabs we do not offer vaccines containing mercury. It is very hard to obtain vaccines free from aluminium, but, where possible, we use vaccines that are aluminium-free or have a relatively low aluminium content.

Safety

Are the vaccines you offer safe?
They are all manufactured by large reputable manufacturers. We source vaccines that are as free from additives and contaminants as possible in order to help minimise side effects. However, no medical intervention can ever be guaranteed to be 100% safe.
Do the vaccines have side effects?
All vaccines have side effects. We try to minimise these, by offering less vaccines at any one time than are given on the NHS, and by selecting vaccines with as few additives and contaminants as possible.
When are side-effects likely to occur?
If your child suffers any side-effects they are most likely to be a slight fever and irritability up to 48 hours after receiving the vaccine. Side-effects from some vaccines occur later; for example side-effects from the measles vaccine most commonly arise 5 to 10 days after being given the vaccine.
Who is liable if something goes wrong?
We, at BabyJabs, are responsible in the normal way for any advice and treatment that we offer. The pharmaceutical companies remain responsible for the quality of their products.
Do you keep a record of the batch number of the vaccines?
Yes, we keep a record of the batch numbers of the vaccines in our own records. We will also add this information to your child's personal health record book (usually a 'red' book), and will also provide with a personalised BabyJabs immunisation record card for your child.
How will my GP know that my child has been immunised?
We give you a letter to pass on to your GP at every attendance at BabyJabs, outlining what vaccines your child has received.
What are the advantages of giving vaccines separately?
This will allow your baby to receive fewer vaccines at each attendance, and to spread out the overall vaccine load; however, there is no conclusive evidence that this is better or safer that giving the vaccines all together. However, there is scientific research that suggests that delaying vaccination may reduce your child’s risk of developing allergic disorders such as asthma, eczema and hay fever.
What are the disadvantages of giving vaccines separately?
Spreading out the vaccines will usually result in a delay in the time it takes for your child to be protected against the various diseases. However, it is not necessary for most children to be protected against diseases such as tetanus and polio in the first few months of life.
What is the safest immunisaiton schedule for my child?
There is no one schedule that is best for all children. At a consultation Dr Halvorsen will draw up a personalized schedule for your child taking into account your wishes, your child’s medical history and any relevant family history. At BabyJabs we view each child as unique and do not believe that there is one schedule that is right for all children.

Effectiveness

Are the vaccines you offer as effective as those given on the NHS?
Most are sourced form the same manufacturers that provide the vaccines for the NHS, and are all of similar effectiveness. Many are, or were, used by the NHS.
How many doses will my child require?
This will depend on which vaccines you choose to give your child. At your initial consultation with Dr Halvorsen, a personalised immunisaiton plan will be agreed for your child. The total number of vaccines required will depend on which vaccines you choose and when they are given.
How soon after being given do vaccines become effective?
Vaccines generally take between one and three weeks to provide maximum protection.
How long does protection last?
This is so variable that it is impossible to give a generalised answer. The measles vaccine offers protection for well over 20 years, whereas the protection from the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine only last 4 or 5 years.

Vaccine constituents

How can I check the exact ingredients of the vaccines?
You can find the full list of all ingredients of our vaccines (so far as we are able to ascertain) on our detailed vaccine list.
Are your vaccines vegetarian?
To the best of our knowledge, the following vaccines are vegetarian:
Td Pur (low dose tetanus and diphtheria)
DT (diphtheria and tetanus)
Daptacel (DTaP)
HBVaxPro (hepatitis B)
Hiberix (Hib)
Act Hib (Hib)
Menitorix (Hib-Men C)
Bexsero (Men B)
Menjugate (Men C)
Nimenrix (Men ACWY)
Prevenar 13 (PCV)
Tetanus Pur (tetanus)
Are your vaccines vegan?
Very few, if any, vaccines are vegan and we are unable to guarantee that any of our vaccines are completely vegan
Which of your vaccines contain pork gelatine or other porcine products?
The chickenpox vaccine Varivax contains porcine gelatine. To the best of our knowledge none of our other vaccines contain any pig derived products.
Which of your vaccines contain dairy products?
The following vaccines are known to contain dairy products:
Daptacel (DTaP)
Infanrix-IPV-Hib
Boostrix (dTap)
Hiberix (Hib)
Act Hib (Hib)
M-Vac (measles)
MR-Vac (measles and rubella)
Prevenar 13 (PCV)
It is extremely rare for a vaccine that contains dairy products to cause a serious adverse reaction in a child with a milk allergy.
Which of your vaccines contain egg products?
To the best of our knowledge none of our vaccines contain egg products. Our measles vaccine is egg-free.

Timing of vaccines

My child has fallen behind with his vaccine schedule. Do I still need the same vaccines?
For some vaccines less doses are needed for older children; for other vaccines the same number of doses will be required. Let us know where you are with your child's schedule and we can advise you what will be needed from here on.
How does the timing of the vaccinations affect how many vaccines are needed?
Some vaccines, such as Hib and Men C, can be given less often if given later, for example after 12 months, rather than at 2, 3 and 4 months.
How far apart should vaccines be given?
This is very much a matter of personal choice. The only hard and fast rule is that the same vaccine cannot be given less than one month apart. Our preference is generally to leave a four week gap between all vaccines. Vaccines can be given far more spaced out than on the NHS schedule, when they may also be more effective. This can be discussed when we arrange a personalised schedule for your child.
Which vaccines need boosters?
Most vaccines require more than one dose for maximum protection. However this is usually given as a primary course of two or three doses. Boosters are required for most vaccines, including tetanus, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough, for prolonged protection.

MMR

How can I get my child vaccinated against measles?
We can offer you the single measles vaccine. Alternatively we can offer you a 2-in-1 measles and rubella vaccine
How can I get my child vaccinated against mumps?
Currently the only way to get vaccinated against mumps is with the 3-in-1 MMR vaccine. There is no single mumps vaccine being manufactured. However we feel that mumps vaccination is not essential as mumps is nearly always a mild and harmless illness.
Why are single rubella and single mumps being no longer available?
The pharmaceutical companies who manufactured these have stopped doing so, ostensibly for economical reasons.
My child has already had the single measles vaccine. I now want her to be protected against rubella as she is a teenager. Will it be harmful for her to receive the combined measles and rubella vaccine?
This is not a problem. After all, most children receive two MMR vaccines.

Practicalities

What should I do if my child has started the NHS vaccine schedule, but I now wish to come to you?
This does not prevent your child from having any of the other single or small combination vaccines. The vaccines offered at BabyJabs can be used to complete courses started on the NHS or in other countries.
Do you advise giving paracetamol (Calpol) to my child before or after being given a vaccine?
We do not advise giving paracetamol (Calpol) routinely as this is often unnecessary and may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. If your child develops a high fever (over 39 degrees) then do give your child some paracetamol.
Will I be able to travel after my child has been given the vaccine?
Yes. Unless your child shows immediate signs of a bad reaction to the vaccine (which is extremely unlikely) you will be allowed to leave shortly after your child has received the immunisation.

Miscellaneous questions

What are the disadvantages of giving the vaccines separately or in small combinations?
Giving vaccines in this way is likely to delay the time by which your child is protected against all the diseases vaccinated against. The Department of Health would also be concerned that you may not give your child all the recommended vaccines. Depending on which vaccines you select, your child may require more injections than would be given on the NHS schedule.
At what age should I start to vaccinate my baby?
The earliest age at which you should start the vaccines is 8 weeks, the age at which vaccination is started on the NHS. However, there could be advantages in delaying vaccination by a few weeks or months as this may reduce the risk of your child’s developing asthma in later life and will also allow your child’s immune and nervous systems to mature. This can be discussed when planning your child’s individual immunisation schedule.
Which vaccines are the most important?
This depends on your child’s health and circumstances. All vaccines offer benefits associated with risks, and it is difficult to rank them in order of importance. This can be discussed in a consultation with Dr Halvorsen, bearing in mind your child’s unique situation.
Which vaccines can I safely leave out?
Some vaccines are probably less important than others for most children. For example, mumps is very rarely a serious illness, and the necessity of vaccinating all children is questionable. Polio has been eradicated from the UK and all of Europe and so might be considered less important than others.
What can I do if I have more questions?
If you wish to give your child single or small dose vaccines, you are strongly encouraged to book an initial consultation with Dr Halvorsen, so that you can discuss and agree on an individual immunisation schedule for your child that best meets your wishes and concerns.
Is it possible to buy a vaccine from your clinic to be administered elsewhere?
That is not possible as all our vaccines must be administered on our premises.