The 4-in-1 vaccine, also known as the DTaP/IPV (dTaP/IPV) combined vaccine or the booster, is given as an injection.
Which vaccines are used?
The following vaccines are routinely used in Scotland:
What's a booster immunisation?
Booster immunisations are given to increase the protection already given by a primary immunisation. Sometimes the protection offered by a primary immunisation begins to wear off after a time. A booster dose extends the period of protection later into life.
How effective is the vaccine?
The illnesses caused by diphtheria can kill. Before the diphtheria vaccine was introduced in the UK, there were up to 70,000 cases of diphtheria a year, causing around 5,000 deaths.
The number of tetanus cases in the UK is low because of the effectiveness of the tetanus vaccine. Most people who got tetanus weren't immunised against it or didn't complete the entire immunisation schedule.
Before the pertussis vaccine was introduced, on average 120,000 cases of whooping cough were reported each year in the UK.
Before the polio vaccine was introduced, there were as many as 8,000 cases of polio in the UK in epidemic years. Because of the continued success of the polio vaccination, there have been no cases of natural polio infection in the UK for over 20 years (the last case was in 1984).
What's the difference between dTaP/IPV and DTaP/IPV, and does the difference matter?
Diphtheria vaccines are produced in 2 strengths, depending on how much diphtheria toxoid (the toxin produced by the diphtheria bacteria that's been inactivated) they contain. The 2 strengths are abbreviated to ‘D’ for the high strength and ‘d’ for the low strength.
There are 2 vaccines available for use as the booster – one containing high-strength diphtheria (DTaP/IPV) and the other containing low-strength diphtheria (dTaP/IPV). Both vaccines have been shown to provide good responses, and so it doesn’t matter which one your child has for their booster.
How do we know the vaccine's safe?
All medicines (including vaccines) are tested for safety and effectiveness by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The vaccine meets the high safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and other European countries. The vaccine has been given to millions of people worldwide.
Once they're in use, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored by the MHRA.