Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Vaccines for Children Born Outside the UK

Relocating to the UK with a baby who started vaccination in another country proved to be quite complicated. When we first came to London, the Toddler was 10 months old. He had had a series of vaccines under the Greek immunisation schedule and we had to make sure he would have all his routine vaccination in time in the UK. Easier said than done.

Vaccination in the UK, A Mum in London

Each country has its own immunisation program. For instance, in Greece and France the chicken pox vaccine is given routinely; in the UK you have to do it privately. Also, sometimes the number of jabs differs, as is the case of the 5in1 DTaP, which is done in 4 doses pretty much everywhere in the world, but not in the UK (3 doses).

In Greece vaccines are administered by a paediatrician; in the UK, by your GP. The thing is that GPs don't have much flexibility. They follow NHS immunisation schedule by the book and won't give your child a vaccine if it's not in schedule. This means that your child might miss some doses. For instance, our son needed the 4th and final dose of Hib. As it's only offered combined with Meningitis C, for which he was already immunised, our GP refused to give him the combined vaccine. Result: our boy didn't receive the 4th Hib dose and was not properly immunised (we had to do it in Greece).

Vaccination in the UK, A Mum in London

If you are about to relocate to the UK with a child who started immunisations in another country, it would be useful to ask your doctor to make a detailed list of the vaccines your child did in his country of origin and the ones he needs to do in the future. Once in the UK, when you register with a GP, make sure to give them that list and discuss the immunisation's options. In case your child misses some vaccines, arrange to do them privately or in your country of origin when you go for vacations.

Finally, all routine vaccines are free for all UK residents registered with a GP.

Check the UK Vaccination schedule by the NHS here

2 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, this reminds me of how complicated it was moving to the US. Children there are obliged to have certain vaccinations before starting school. I got caught up in one wrangle. My doctor thought it was better for my daughter (aged 3 or 4) to have the next course that she was due when we went back to Britain on holiday. Her pre-school didn't buy that. In the end, the doctor had to sign a certificate exempting her, and in the section giving a reason, he wrote "She will receive the immunisation in Britain". Who knew that "being British" is a good medical reason for avoiding a shot?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doctors... They'll never cease to surprise me!

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