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4-in-1 pre-school booster: FAQs

Who should have the vaccination?

Why is IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) used rather than OPV (oral polio vaccine), which was used in the past?

Can you get polio from the polio part of this vaccine?

What is the difference between dTaP/IPV and DTaP/IPV?

How do we know that this vaccine is safe?

How effective is the new DTaP/IPV vaccine?

What are the most common side effects of the DTaP/IPV vaccine?

What is diphtheria?

What is tetanus?

What is whooping cough?

What is polio?

What other vaccines should my child have at this age?

Can this vaccine be given with other vaccines?

Who should have the 4-in-1 pre-school booster vaccination?

The DTaP/IPV vaccine is given as a pre-school booster when your child is about three years and four months old.

Why is inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) used rather than oral polio vaccine (OPV), as in the past?

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) was used from the 1960s because the live vaccine provided better community-wide protection against polio.

Now that polio has been wiped out from large parts of the world, the risk of polio is so low that it is an appropriate time to switch to inactivated polio vaccine, which is given as an injection and does not carry the risk of paralytic polio.

Can you get polio from the polio part of this vaccine?

The pre-school booster uses inactivated polio vaccine, which cannot cause polio. 

What is the difference between dTaP/IPV and DTaP/IPV?

Diphtheria vaccines are produced in two strengths. The two strengths are abbreviated to 'D' for higher strength and 'd' for lower strength. Both vaccines have been shown to provide good responses, so it does not matter which one your child receives as their pre-school booster.

How do we know that the pre-school booster is safe?

Before anyone can be given a vaccine, it has to go through many tests to check that it is safe and that it works. These checks continue even after a vaccine has been introduced. Only vaccines that pass all of the safety tests are used.

All medicines can cause side effects, but vaccines are among the safest. Research from around the world shows that vaccination is the safest way to protect your child's health.

How effective is the pre-school booster?

Studies have shown that the pre-school booster is very effective.

It not only protects your child, but also stops your child passing the germs on to babies who are too young to have had all of their vaccinations.

What are the most common side effects of the pre-school vaccine?

Your child may have some redness and swelling where they had the injection, but this usually disappears after a few days. A hard lump may appear in the same place, but this will also go, usually after a few weeks.

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can quickly develop to cause severe problems with breathing. It can damage the heart and nervous system and can kill. Diphtheria can spread through close contact with an infected person.

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a painful disease that affects the muscles and can cause breathing problems. It is caused by bacteria that are found in soil and manure, which can enter the body through cuts or burns. Tetanus can kill.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough, known medically as pertussis, is a disease that can cause spells of severe coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe. It lasts for up to 10 weeks. It is not usually serious in older children, but it can cause brain damage and can be fatal in babies under one year old. 

What is polio?

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can permanently paralyse the muscles in the arms and legs. If it affects the chest muscles, it can kill.

What other vaccines should my child have at this age?

They should have the second dose of the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

Can the 4-in-1 pre-school booster vaccine be given with other vaccines?

Yes, the pre-school booster can be given at the same time as other vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine, but it should be injected in a different part of the body.

This NHS leaflet tells you more about pre-school immunisations.

Article provided by NHS Choices

See original on NHS Choices