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Why do we immunise?
Immunisation saves lives. The World Health Organization estimates that 3 million lives are saved every year worldwide through immunisation.
It is important that all children and babies are fully immunised to protect them from potentially serious diseases. Once common illnesses, such as diphtheria and tetanus, are now rare in the UK because of immunisation. But while polio has been eliminated in Europe, the threat of other diseases, such as measles and meningitis, has not gone away in the UK today.
Parents with worries or queries about any aspect of their child's immunisations should discuss them with their Doctor, Health Visitor or Practice Nurse.
Adults also benefit from immunisation. Some people will need immunisations to protect their health in work or if travelling. For those at increased risk to complications of influenza, the annual flu vaccine is recommended. A Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended to help protect people at increased risk of pneumococcal disease.
If you are looking for information about immunisations for you or your family, please first discuss with your GP, practice nurse or health visitor who will be able to talk through the schedule of routine immunisations which are recommended in the UK and answer some of your questions.
You may also want to do some research yourself and the internet is a good source of information. You will want to make sure the information is provided by experts. Here are some websites you may find useful (Public Health Wales is not responsible for the content of external websites):
- NHS choices has up-to-date information on the vaccines recommended for you and your family, whatever their ages, at www.nhs.uk/vaccinations
- You will find information and links to all the current immunisation leaflets for Wales available in various languages at www.wales.gov.uk/immunisation
- NHS Direct Wales is a 24-hour telephone advice service run by NHS Wales, which provides information on immunisation as well as the diagnosis and treatment of common conditions. More information is available at: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/encyclopaedia/i/article/immunisation,childhood/
- Information to help parents make decisions about immunisation for their childrencan be found at the Institute of Child Health/Great Ormond Street Hospital Immunisation website at:www.childrenfirst.nhs.uk.
- For all the latest information on the HPV vaccine programme in Wales, see http://wales.gov.uk/beatingcervicalcancer/home/?skip=1&lang=en
- For guidance on immunisations for overseas travel, look at www.nathnac.org or www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or Travel vaccinations (NHS choices) or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.fco.gov.uk or www.nhs.uk
Please use the links below for checklists of the vaccines that are routinely offered in the UK free on the NHS, and the age at which you should ideally have them.
Supporting vaccination in Wales
The Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme of Public Health Wales was established in July 2003. It draws on support from a variety of existing teams within Public Health Wales and wider NHS Wales to support a national approach. Some of the activities begun since the programme was established include development of a Welsh NHS intranet resource to support all professionals who provide or manage immunisation services and Immunisation Conferences.
To contact the Programme Team please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact details for the Immunisation Co-ordinator in each Health Board are available from: Health Board Immunisation Contact Details
Further information for health care professionals
Healthcare colleagues in Wales are advised to visit the Public Health Wales Immunisation and Vaccination Intranet site (NHS Wales network connection required). Additionally, the following websites may also be useful:
- Immunisation statistics for Wales. Reports for the uptake of routine childhood immunisations (COVER reports) and also of the influenza vaccination in Wales are available from the Public Health Wales Health Protection Division website
- British National Formulary (BNF)
- Department of Health (Public Health England) Immunisation page
- electronic Medicines Compendium
- Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
- HPA (Health Protection Agency) Immunisation pages
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
- US Centers for Disease Control - Immunisation pages
- Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme
- WHO Immunisation Safety pages
- WHO Vaccines information