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Immunisation and Vaccines


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.

More information

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):
  • Up-to-date information on the vaccines recommended for you and your family can be found, whatever their ages, at:
  • You will find information and links to all the current immunisation leaflets for Wales available in various languages at www.wales.gov.uk/immunisation   
  • 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

Vaccination checklists

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 general.enquiries@wales.nhs.uk
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:

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Last updated: 06 February 2014