Do you know how vaccines work? – YouTube

World Immunization Week 2023: The Big Catch-up – YouTube

About immunisation:

  • NHS immunisation is offered to provide timely protection against vaccine-preventable infections.
  • Routine vaccinations are offered for free on the NHS to all babies and children in the UK to give them the best start in life.
  • The routine childhood immunisation programme is designed to provide early protection against vaccine-preventable infections from 8 weeks of age, with boosters offered at 12 months and before starting primary school.
  • If you can’t remember if your child is up to date with vaccinations, you can check their Red Book (personal child health record) or speak to your GP surgery.
  • Further vaccines are offered in adolescence such as HPV, which protects against cancers caused by the human papilloma virus, including cervical cancer, and MenACWY, which protects against 4 types of bacteria that can cause meningitis.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) and flu vaccines are offered to pregnant women to protect them and their baby from birth.
  • Throughout adulthood vaccines may be offered for those at increased risk of infection, such as vaccines for pneumonia, flu and shingles.

Why vaccination is important:

  • After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world for saving lives and promoting good health.
  • Vaccines prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year
  • Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely.
  • Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced.
  • However, if people stop having vaccines, it’s possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.
  • Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, our children and those around us against ill health.

How vaccines work:

  • Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases.
  • It’s much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and treating them
  • Once your immune system knows how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years.
  • Having a vaccine also benefits your whole community through “herd immunity”.
  • If enough people are vaccinated, it’s harder for the disease to spread to those people who cannot have vaccines. For example, people who are ill or have a weakened immune system.

Why vaccines are safe:

  • All vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they will not harm you or your child.
  • The main ingredient of any vaccine is a small amount of bacteria, virus or toxin that’s been weakened or destroyed in a laboratory first.
  • This means there’s no risk of healthy people catching a disease from a vaccine.
  • All medicines have side effects, but vaccines are among the safest interventions available and the benefits far outweigh any risks.

MMR vaccine:

  • The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect your child against measles, mumps and rubella.
  • The MMR vaccine is a live vaccine which contains weakened versions of the measles, mumps and rubella viruses – these have been weakened enough to produce immunity without causing disease.
  • Two doses of the MMR vaccine provide long lasting protection against measles, mumps and rubella.
  • The first dose is given at one year of age and the second dose is given at around three years and four months, before children start school.
  • Millions of MMR vaccine doses have been given safely to infants and children in the UK and all around the world.
  • The MMR vaccine is the best way to protect children and adults from measles, mumps and rubella. It is also a very effective way to stop the spread measles to children under the age of 1 year and some immunocompromised individuals who are not able to have the MMR vaccine but are also more likely to experience complications.
  • If your child was due to have either of the two doses of MMR but has not yet received them, no matter what age they are, you should contact your GP practice to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • Watch the video at:

Measles Vaccine

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, so anyone with symptoms is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further.

Anyone who is unsure if their child is up to date with all their routine vaccinations should check their child’s Red Book (personal child health record) in the first instance.

If you are still not sure, or if you need to bring your child up to date with their vaccines, contact your GP practice to check and book an appointment.

To find out more about childhood vaccinations, please visit the NHS website: