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Childhood Immunisation Programme in Norway

All children resident in Norway are offered vaccination against eleven diseases; rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, infection with Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), pneumococcal disease, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) and human papilloma virus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer. Some children are also offered vaccination against hepatitis B and tuberculosis.

Colourbox
Illustrasjonsfoto. Foto: colourbox.com

All of these diseases can cause life-threatening illnesses or result in severe complications.

Vaccination usually begins when a child is six weeks old. Since several of the diseases affect youngest children the hardest, delays should be avoided. Booster doses are given when the child has reached school age. The rotavirus vaccine is given orally, the other vaccines are given by injection. Mercury is not used as a preservative in any of the vaccines in the Childhood Immunisation Programme.

Vaccination is not compulsory.

 

Child's age

Vaccination against

No. of injections

6 weeks Vaccine against rotavirus -

3 months

Vaccine against rotavirus
Five component vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis and Hib infection (DTP-IPV-Hib)
Vaccine against pneumococcal disease

-
1

1

5 months

Five component vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis and Hib infection (DTP-IPV-Hib),
Vaccine against pneumococcal disease

1

1

12 months

Five component vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis and Hib infection (DTP-IPV-Hib), 
Vaccine against pneumococcal disease

1

1

15 months

Vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

1

7-8 years
(2nd grade)

Four-component vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis (DTP-IPV)

1

11-12 years
(6th grade)

Vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

1

12-13 years - girls
(7th grade)

Vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV), 3 doses
(Vaccine against cervical cancer)

1 per dose

15-16 years
(10th grade)

Four-component vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis (DTP-IPV)

1

 

Vaccine against tuberculosis (BCG),*

 1

 

Vaccine against hepatitis B, 3 or 4 doses*

 1 per dose

* For children in defined risk groups (normally given in infancy). Booster doses against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio are recommended for adults every 10 years.

Combination vaccines

Combination vaccines have been used since the Norwegian Childhood Immunisation Programme began in 1952. Vaccines against several diseases are combined into one syringe so there are fewer injections for the child. A combination vaccine has fewer side-effects than when each vaccine is given separately.  

Before vaccination

The public health nurse will ask whether the child is healthy and if there has been a reaction to any previous vaccines. Remember to inform the public health nurse if the child has any allergies or other health problems, or if the child has recently taken medication or a vaccine outside the programme.

Vaccinating a child who has a cold or is slightly under the weather is safe. However, it is normal to postpone the vaccination in the event of an acute illness or if the child has a fever over 38˚C.

Children who have had unusual reactions after previous vaccinations amd children with serious or prolonged illnesses should be assessed by a doctor before vaccination. In some cases it may be necessary to deviate from the programme.

After vaccination

Most children will experience little or no reaction after vaccination. If the patient has a fever above 39 ˚C and/or reduced general condition, it may be a sign of a serious illness and not necessarily a reaction to the vaccine. Always contact a doctor if you are concerned about the child’s health.

Reactions to vaccines (side effects)

  • Redness, swelling and pain around the injection site may occur after any vaccine and may last a few days. 
  • 1 in 10 children will experience a mild fever, restlessness, crying, drowsiness, feeling unwell or loss of appetite  after vaccination. A fever of more than 39 ˚C is unusual. 
  • A rapid rise in body temperature can lead to harmless “fever cramps” in small children. Contact a doctor to rule out any acute illness 
  • Pallor, feeling unwell or fainting after vaccination is more common in older children than in infants, and is nearly always due to the child reacting to the injection/pain or the situation. 
  • Rarely, vaccination may trigger an allergic reaction. The most dangerous allergic reactions occur shortly after vaccination. For this reason the child must remain at the public health centre for at least 20 minutes after the vaccination has been administered.