The 6-in-1 vaccine


The 6-in-1 vaccine, also commonly known as the DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB vaccine, helps protect your child against:

What’s pertussis (whooping cough)?

Whooping cough is a disease that can cause long bouts of coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe. Whooping cough can last for up to 10 weeks.

Babies under one year old are most at risk from whooping cough. For these babies, the disease is very serious and can kill. It’s not usually as serious in older children. Before the pertussis vaccine was introduced, on average 120,000 cases of whooping cough were reported each year in the UK.

More about whooping cough

What’s diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can quickly cause breathing problems.

It can damage the heart and nervous system and, in severe cases, 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.

What’s tetanus?

Tetanus is a disease affecting the nervous system that can lead to muscle spasms, cause breathing problems and even kill. It’s caused when germs that are found in soil and manure get into the body through open cuts or burns.

Tetanus can’t be passed from person to person.

More about tetanus

What’s polio?

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause permanent paralysis of the muscles. If it affects the chest muscles or the brain, polio can kill.

Before the polio vaccine was introduced, there were as many as 8,000 cases in the UK during the polio epidemic. Because of the continued success of the polio vaccination, there have been no cases of paralytic polio in the UK for nearly 40 years (the last case was in 1984). Polio remains a threat with poliovirus traces found in London sewage in early 2022.

Being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect against becoming ill from polio. It’s important to make sure you and your child are up to date with your vaccines.

More about polio

What’s Hib?

Hib is an infection caused by haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. It can lead to a number of major illnesses such as blood poisoning (septicaemia), pneumonia and meningitis. The illnesses caused by Hib can kill if they’re not treated quickly. Before the Hib vaccine was introduced, there were about 800 cases of Hib in young children every year in the UK.

The Hib vaccine only protects your baby against the type of meningitis caused by the haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria – it doesn’t protect against any other type of meningitis.

More about haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

What’s hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B (HepB) is a virus that infects the liver. Many people with HepB infection have no symptoms and don’t know they’re infected. Others have flu-like symptoms and yellowing of the skin (jaundice).

In children, HepB can persist for years and may eventually cause serious liver damage.

More about hepatitis B

Why should my baby be vaccinated?

Babies can catch these serious diseases from birth, so it’s important to protect them as soon as possible.

When will my baby be immunised?

All babies are eligible for the vaccine free on the NHS.

Your baby will be offered the 6-in-1 vaccine around 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Your local NHS immunisation team will contact you to let you know about their arrangements for your baby’s routine childhood immunisations.

Most NHS immunisation teams run special immunisation baby clinics. If you can’t get to the clinic, contact your local NHS immunisation team to make another appointment.

Find out how to contact your local NHS immunisation team regarding your vaccination appointment

What to do if you are unsure if you or your child has had all of their doses

Phone your GP surgery to check if you or your child has had all the required doses.

Your GP will check your records and be able to advise if it is clinically appropriate to receive the 6-in-1 vaccine.

To arrange a vaccine appointment, contact your local NHS immunisation team.

If you’re unsure about anything, or have any questions about the 6-in-1 vaccine for babies, contact:

The vaccine

The 6-in-1 vaccination (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB vaccination) is given as an injection to babies usually at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.

What vaccine is used?

The Infanrix hexa and Vaxelis vaccines are routinely used in Scotland.

How effective is the vaccine?

Studies have shown that the DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB vaccine is very effective in protecting your baby against all 6 serious diseases.

How many doses of the vaccine does my baby need?

Your baby will have 3 doses, normally at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Further doses against some of these diseases are needed to extend this protection as your child grows up. These are delivered as part of the routine immunisation schedule.

Read more about the routine immunisation schedule

How do we know the vaccine is safe?

All medicines (including vaccines) are tested for safety and effectiveness. 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.

After the vaccine

Vaccines protect your baby against the risk of very serious infections and should not be delayed.

Side effects

After the 6-in-1 vaccination (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB vaccination), your baby might develop:

  • a mild fever
  • a small lump where your baby had the injection – this may last for a few weeks but will slowly disappear

It’s normal for your baby to be upset for up to 48 hours after having the injection.

Talk to your GP, practice nurse or health visitor if

  • you think your baby has had any other reaction to the 6-in-1 vaccine and you’re concerned about it

Fever can be expected after any vaccination. Fevers are usually mild, so you only need to give a dose of infant paracetamol if your child isn’t comfortable or is unwell. Read the instructions on the bottle very carefully.

In infants who do develop a fever after vaccination, the fever tends to peak around 6 hours after vaccination and is nearly always gone completely within 2 days.

Ibuprofen can also be used to treat a fever and other post-vaccination reactions. Read the instructions on the product packing very carefully. Giving ibuprofen at the time of vaccination to prevent a fever is not effective.

Remember, never give medicines that contain aspirin to children under 16.

Information about treating a fever in children

If your baby has had the 6-in-1 vaccine at the same time as the MenB vaccine

Fever is more common when the MenB vaccine is given with the other routine vaccines at 8 and 16 weeks. Infant paracetamol should be given to babies after each of these immunisation appointments.

Phone 999 immediately if:

  • your child is having a fit

If you think your child might be seriously ill, trust your instincts and seek urgent medical advice

Phone your GP immediately if:

  • your child has a temperature of 39°C or above
  • your child still has a fever 48 hours after vaccination
  • if you’re concerned about your child’s health

If your GP is closed, you can contact NHS24 on 111.

The diseases vaccines protect against are very serious and therefore vaccination should not be delayed because of concerns about post-vaccination fever.

Where can I report suspected side effects?

You can report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme.

This can be done by:

  • visiting the Yellow Card Scheme website
  • phoning the free Yellow Card hotline on 0800 731 6789 (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Vaccine Safety Net Member

Public Health Scotland is a proud member of the Vaccine Safety Net and partners with NHS inform to provide reliable information on vaccine safety.

The Vaccine Safety Net is a global network of websites, evaluated by the World Health Organization, that provides reliable information on vaccine safety.

More about the Vaccine Safety Net

Information in other languages and formats

Information leaflets from Public Health Scotland are available in

  • British Sign Language (BSL), Audio, Easy Read, and Large Print formats
  • English and other languages

You can request another format or language (for example Braille) by emailing

Last updated:
25 June 2024

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