Vaccination is one of the greatest public health interventions in the world for saving lives and promoting good health. Immunisation protects not only the individual but also the population from vaccine preventable diseases which can cause serious illness as well as death. Vaccines cannot give the disease they are designed to prevent.
If people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become uncommon such as pertussis (whooping cough), polio and measles, will quickly re-emerge. At least 90% of children must be immunised to stop a disease from spreading.
In the UK, the national immunisation program is determined by the Department of Health and the routine vaccination schedule starts from 2 months of age to 65 years and over. Other vaccines are available for those with complex health needs or those who are more at risk.
The UK’s routine immunisation schedule provides protection against the following vaccine-preventable infections:
- haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- hepatitis B
- human papillomavirus (certain serotypes)
- meningococcal disease (certain serogroups)
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- pneumococcal disease (certain serotypes)
It's important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection, but if you or your child missed a vaccine, contact your GP to catch up.