Vaccinations for babies and small children

Yes or no? Parents have to decide early on whether they’d like to get their children vaccinated. Here is an overview of the basic vaccines recommended by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

29.03.2021 Karin Rechsteiner 2 minutes

Should we or shouldn’t we? When your baby is 2 months old, you have to make a big decision as a parent: at your baby’s medical check­up with the paediatrician, you’ll be asked whether you’d like your child to be vaccinated. Vaccination is not mandatory in Switzerland. It’s up to the parents make their own decisions.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) recommends that babies and children are vaccinated against a range of serious and transmissible infectious diseases. This protects children from these diseases, while preventing them from spreading further.

Vaccine sceptics and “anti-vaxxers” believe that getting through an illness boosts children’s immune systems. They also fear the potential risks associated with a vaccination.

You should discuss which vaccines you’d like to take up and when at your two-month check-up with the paediatrician.

Basic vaccinations for children

Information on the vaccines recommended by the FOPH are set out in the Swiss vaccination plan. This is updated every year. The FOPH recommends the following basic vaccinations for babies and children: 

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough
  • Meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal or meningococcal bacteria
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Pneumococcal infections

Basic vaccinations are carried out from the age of 2 months. Additional vaccines are also available. That includes immunisation against meningococcal infections. Some children have a chronic health condition leaving them at greater risk of further illnesses. Talk to your paediatrician about whether it might be worthwhile to consider additional vaccines for your child. 

Good to know: mothers’ immunity

During pregnancy, antibodies are passed from mother to baby through the placenta. When they come into the world, these antibodies in the blood protect babies from infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella. This conveys a temporary immunity that lasts weeks to months. 

Who can help me decide?

Not sure whether you want to have your child vaccinated, and for which diseases? Is your child in a specific at-risk group? Ask your paediatrician for their opinion. Get advice on the best time to have your baby vaccinated. Keep a vaccination record together with your paediatrician so that you have an overview of what vaccines your baby has had.

Further information

The independent Centre for Telemedicine, which operates a vaccination hotline on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), can be reached on 0844 448 448

Detailed information on immunisation from the FOPH An FOPH guide to vaccines for children Additional information on vaccinations

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