Our Community and School Aged Immunisation Services support community initiatives to vaccinate patients at risk of developing serious illness related to TB and Hepatitis B infections.
BCG vaccines are offered to all qualifying babies when they are around 28 days of age, and protect against tuberculosis. You will likely have been notified by your maternity service if your new baby is eligible for vaccination, and the Community vaccination team will be in touch to arrange an appointment for you.
Hepatitis B vaccines are offered to at-risk babies who receive their first dose of vaccination shortly after birth. These at-risk babies are then vaccinated by our services at 28 days of age and then a booster at their first birthday, following a dry-spot blood test screening to check immunity to Hepatitis B. These vaccines are also offered to patients in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Schools, with 2 doses given 4 weeks apart.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen), glands, bones and nervous system. TB is a potentially serious condition, but it can be cured if it's treated with the right antibiotics – though babies at risk of developing a TB infection will be offered vaccination.
Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus, which is spread in the blood of an infected person. It's a common infection worldwide and is usually spread from infected pregnant women to their babies, or from child-to-child contact. Hepatitis B is uncommon in the UK. Most cases affect people who became infected while growing up in part of the world where the infection is more common, such as Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Most adults infected with hepatitis B are able to fight off the virus and fully recover from the infection within a couple of months. However people infected as children can develop a long-term infection. This is known as chronic hepatitis B, and can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Antiviral medication can be used to treat it. In 2017, the hepatitis B vaccine was added to the routine immunisation programme so all children can benefit from protection from this virus, but children at risk of infection developing will be given single hepatitis B vaccinations at birth and shortly after too, as well as a booster at their 1st birthday.
Our services will be in touch with the parents of children eligible for these vaccinations to arrange either a home visit, or an appointment at one of our community clinics to ensure your child is protected against these illnesses. You do not need to do anything to start receiving reminders regarding these appointments and our nurses will be able to advise on the vaccines and discuss with you any concerns you have.
If you have recently moved to the area, and are concerned you may have missed or need to rearrange an appointment please contact your local team via the details in the Contact Us section here.
Copyright © 2023 Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust