Childhood immunisations and how to remember them

Which are live?

Live vaccines:

  • BCG
  • MMR
  • Oral Polio
  • Rotavirus



  • DTaP = Diptheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis vaccine
  • IPV = Inactivated Polio Vaccine
  • HiB = Haemophilus influenzae B vaccine
  • PCV = Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Men C = Meningococcal C vaccine
  • MMR = Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine
  • DT – Diptheria, Tetanus vaccine
  • Men B = Meningococcal B vaccine
  • BCG
  • Hep B

At Birth

  • BCG / hepatitis B vaccine if risk factors

2 Months

  • DTap / IPV / Hib
  • PCV
  • Oral Rotarvirus vaccine

3 Months

  • DTaP / IPV

Trying to memorise this may be a straightforward task for some people. Not to me. To commit this to memory I have to use a technique employing what are known as “memory loci” or, some refer to this as a memory palace or memory journey. Many have written about this technique (see for example, Derren Brown’s book “Trick of the Mind”) and I’m not going to go into detail her but I will explain exactly how I have used this technique to memorise the childhood vaccination schedule.

Step One: Associating the vaccination with a certain object.

Each vaccination needs a way to remember it. In practice step 1 and 2 are done simultaneously.

Each vaccination requires an easy-to remember object that I associate with that vaccination these can then be placed in my memory palace.

These are personal to me, if you’re trying to do a similar thing use things that you will easily remember and associate with that vaccination in the way I explain. The more weird and memorable the object the better; so these are pretty weird.

DTaP = Diptheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis vaccine. DTaP I have taken to be “Double Tap” which I think is a way special forces people execute people. I’m probably wrong about this but it’s a way I remember DTaP… the loci I remember is a gun. Gun/double tap = DTaP.
IPV = Inactivated Polio Vaccine. Now this is quite straight forward – I use a polo mint to represent Polio.

HiB = Haemophilus influenzae B vaccine. I known a man called Harry Bell. So for this one I picture Harry Bell.

PCV = Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. PCV becomes PVC and that becomes one of those PVC-clad dominatrix (I told you it gets weird!!)

Rotovirus = a rotorsaw

MenB = B-man = He-man

Men C = Meningocolccal C vaccine. Now men C becomes “men sea”, which becomes “sea man” which is Captain Birdseye of fishfinger fame.

MMR = Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine. MMR is quite straightforward – it’s the little M&M animated characters.

DT – Diptheria, Tetanus vaccine. DT becomes “Design and Technology” which I studied in school and built a magic guillotine – the guillotine represents DT.

Hepatitis = Hep = Hip Hop Hep = Snoop Dog.

BCG becomes the BFG – the big friendly giant.


Flu – think of a dawarf having the flu – wiping his nose with his bucket and spade

Step 2:

So having linked each vaccination with a memorable image the next step is to link them with the age of the child getting the vaccine.

I place these items in the appropriate rooms of my family home where I grew up. Rooms in the ground floor is represent months, rooms on the first floor represent years.

I use the number of lights in the room to represent the number of months /

Ground floor:

Back kitchen is the first room you enter so that represents at birth.

The kitchen has two lights so it represents two months.

The hallway which I say has three lights represents three months.

The family TV room has four walk lights so represents 4 months.

The sitting room is where the Christmas tree is. This is a bit of a push but I say the Christmas tree has 12-13 lights on it (also think 12days of Christmas) so that is 12-13 months.

Then up stairs the rooms represent years. The guest room has 3 lights and a fourth on the table which I picture flickering in and off as if it has a bad wiring. This room represents 3-4years.

My 18year old brother’s room represents 13-18years. The landing represents 2-7years and this I remember by thinking about 7dawafs holding 2 lamps.

Girls only in the office – there’s a prince of thieves pic in there = 12 year old me looking at it HPV

So now I have each room representing a child’s age and several objects representing the vaccinations.

So now it’s just a case of placing each object in each room.

Birth – back kitchen. The BFG (representing BCG) is siting on the sink all cramped in, then snoop dog is trying to squash a bee (representing Hep B) by the door.


2 months – main kitchen (two big lights)

DTaP (diptheria tetanus pertussis), IPV (polio), HiB. On the table Harry Bell (HiB is holding a gun and double tapping a polo mint)

PCV, Men-B = standing on a sink is a dominatrix (PVC clad = PCV) whipping a muscle bound he-man (b-man = men-B)

Rotorvirus there’s a big circular saw cutting right through the ovan and clock.


3 months – out into the hallway where there’s three lights

Again here Harry bell is double tapping a polo mint. (HiB, DTaP, Polio)

And his wheelchair is being cut by a circular saw (rotovirus) coming from the cabinet


4 months – down into the family room


Again harry bell is on the table this time again doubletapping a polomint. (HiB, DTaP, Polio)

And standing on the fire mantlepiece there is that domomatrix (PCV) whipping He-man (men-b)

Next door – in the sitting room where the christmas tree is, (think 12 days of christmas – 12-13months) is Harry Bell (HiB), but this time he is arm-wrestling Captain birdseye (Men-C), over a packed of M&Ms – the little M&M character is shouting “Don’t eat me it’s not worth it”,  and this time the domonatrix and He-man are trying to shag behind the christmastree without the M&M seeing.

Upstairs we have the seven dawarfs where there are two lights in the landing – 2-7 and one of the dwarfs – fluy is wiping his nose with a spade. so he actualy cuts his nose instead of wiping it. This little thing is happening on a stuttery old film which is stuck in a groove so the same thing is happening again and again – each year 2 to 7.

Into Porthcothen now and there’s 3 ligths working (the main one and the two bedside ones) and then the one of the desk is flicking on and off – 3 to 7 years… In here the Polo (IPV) has got hold of the gun and is taking out the M&M (MMR) by double tapping (DTaP) him.

The office is girls only – me age 12 is trying to get in HPV. 12 -13 = HPV girls only .

In 18year old Martins room the guillotine (DT) is about to chop the Polo mint and the Men are dancying not the YMCA but the ACWY.

(Things making it easier to remember – The domonatrix – PVC = PCV only ever gets it on with He-Man, you don’t see him without her or her without him), they are in the kitche by the toaster, in the family room on the mantlepiece and in the sitting room by the christmastree.

The porthcothin is the only on where someone else is doing a doubletap – it’s not Harry this time its the Polo doing it to the M&M to get his own back)