Vaccinations in Dubai

In the first two years, kids in the UAE routinely receive 20 vaccination jabs. Struggling to keep up?

With so many immunisations required in the first few months of life, it’s no wonder we poor parents get confused. Back in our day, doses of chicken pox and mumps were a rite of passage, while at 14, we all went through having our BCG boils burst by the arm-thumping school bully.

But times change and life isn’t as simple as it once was. We’ve put together a cut-out-and-keep guide to take you through the first few years of jabs.

Newborn to one month

Three injections
BCG and two Hepatitis B shots (two injections are given in the first 24 hours after birth and the second Hepatitis B shot is given when the baby is four weeks old).

What are they?
BCG protects against some forms of tuberculosis, including its most severe form, tuberculosis meningitis. Hepatitis B protects against a virus known to cause chronic liver disease and liver cancer. It’s quite common in the region, so it’s important to get it done. This is given in three doses: birth, one month and nine months.

Two months

Two injections plus one oral
DPT , Hib and Polio (a five-in-one shot), Pneumococcal and Rotavirus (taken orally).

What are they?
DPT: Diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) used to be a single jab on its own, but it’s now combined with Hib (haemophilus influenza), a vaccine against a bacteria that can cause pneumonia, infections of the blood, bones, and joints and, most importantly, bacterial meningitis. Polio used to be given orally but is now included in the injection. This five-in-one whole shot is given three times: two months, four months and six months. Two boosters are given, the first (DPT, Hib, Polio) at 18 months, and the second (DPT, Polio) at four to six years.

Pneumococcal: Protects against blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis, and is given four times: at two months, four months, six months and 12 to 15 months.

Rotavirus: Protects against nasty sickness and diarrhoea bugs that can leave them dangerously dehydrated. Doctors advise that babies have two doses within the first five months – usually six to eight weeks apart.

Four months

Two injections plus one oral
Second DPT, Hib and Polio. Second Pneumococcal. Second Rotavirus.

Six months

Two injections
Third DPT, Hib and Polio. Third Pneumococcal.

Nine months

One injection
Third Hepatitis B is administered.

12 months

One injection

What is it?
MMR is a live vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Mumps and rubella are not deadly in childhood but they can cause complications later. Mumps can result in male sterility while rubella causes birth defects if caught in early pregnancy. Measles is extremely nasty and infectious and, while most kids recover well, severe cases can cause long-term problems. MMR is given by injection in two doses: the first at 12-15 months; the second at four to six years.

15 months

One injection
Fourth Pneumococcal

18 months

One injection
DTP, Hib and Polio booster

Four years

One injection plus one oral
DTP, Polio

Dos and don’ts

Don’t panic about MMR. Dr Anees says, ‘There is no link between MMR and autism. The negative publicity did a very good job in scaring parents and many have lost faith in the vaccine, which is a shame because it’s perfectly safe. It is still possible to get the separate vaccinations but, in my opinion, why jab your child three times when they only need to go through it once? I gave my children the MMR and have absolutely no doubts about its safety.’

Don’t take your child for a vaccination if they are unwell, although simple colds and other minor illnesses should not prevent immunisation. The nurse will take their temperature beforehand, but if bubba is dosed up on Paracetamol, do mention it.

Do keep vaccination records in a safe place. You’ll need them when applying for nursery and school places.

Don’t worry if you miss appointments. Jabs can always be rescheduled.

Do expect a reaction. A mild fever accompanied by soreness and redness at the injection site is completely normal, particularly after the MMR jab.

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