So many questions...
What are Should I have

There are so many questions surrounding immunisations, from what they are,
to how they work, whether or not they're needed through to how effective they are... serves as a central resource for information about immunisations.
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What's this all about?

icon was created as a central resource for information about immunisations, with answers to many frequently asked questions.

So - What is an 'immunisation' and how might this be useful to me or my family?

Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health. They 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.

As Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed...

Immunisation is one of out most important tools for preventing outbreaks and keeping the world safe.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

WHO Director-General

Commonly available and administered immunisations

  • DTaP, DT, Tdap, Td vaccines
    for Diphtheria
  • Influenza vaccine
    for Flu (Influenza)
  • Hepatitis A vaccine
    for Hepatitis A
  • MMR vaccine
    for Measles, Mumps, Rubella

Let's look closer...

Here's a look at some of the more commonly administered vaccines.

More on Measles...

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It's now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination. Anyone can get measles if they have not been vaccinated or have not had it before, although it's most common in young children. The infection usually clears in around 7 to 10 days.


More on Mumps...

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that used to be common in children before the introduction of the MMR vaccine. Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swellings in the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), giving a person with mumps a distinctive "hamster face" appearance.


More on Rubella...

Rubella (German measles) is a rare illness that causes a spotty rash. It usually gets better in about 1 week. It can be serious if you get it when you're pregnant. The main symptom of rubella is a red or pink spotty rash.

Hepatitis A

More on Hepatitis A...

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that's spread in the poo of an infected person. It's uncommon in the UK, but certain groups are at increased risk. This includes travellers to parts of the world with poor levels of sanitation, and people who inject drugs. Hepatitis A can be unpleasant, but it's not usually serious and most people make a full recovery within a couple of months.


More on Chickenpox...

Chickenpox is common and mostly affects children, although you can get it at any age. It usually gets better by itself after 1 to 2 weeks without needing to see a GP. Chickenpox is very itchy and can make children feel miserable, even if they do not have many spots. Chickenpox is usually much worse in adults.


More on Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection that can affect the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin. It's rare in the UK, but there's a small risk of catching it while travelling in some parts of the world. Diphtheria is rare in the UK because babies and children are routinely vaccinated against it.

What people say?

There are mixed views and beliefs surrounding immunisations - some are for and some against. Here's what some shared...
Dr. Goldstein

Dr. Goldstein

If parents have the right information, and they understand the overwhelming evidence that supports vaccination, than we feel they will come to understand why we, as doctors, feel so strongly in favor of vaccination.
Dr. Singh

Dr. Singh

What often happens is a parent talked to a friend who planted a seed of doubt in their mind. They want to look into it further, and meanwhile hold off on vaccines. I would like to remind parents that not vaccinating and delaying vaccines is dangerous.
Susanne Bjelbo

Susanne Bjelbo

Although our main concern is to treat people with substance use disorder and mental health issues and to ultimately prepare them for reintegration into society, vaccination is crucial in terms of ensuring overall health and well-being.
Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

The lives of millions of children have been saved, millions have the chance of a longer healthier life, a greater chance to learn, to play, to read and write, to move around freely without suffering.
Robert Sears

Robert Sears

Most anti-vaccine books claim that all shots are bad, the diseases aren't really anything to fear, and as long as you live a natural and healthy lifestyle, you don't have to worry. I think this is a very irresponsible approach to the vaccine issue. Vaccines are beneficial in ridding our population of both serious and nonserious diseases.
As many as


of the world's population believe that immunisations are important
More than


children vaccinated over the last decade
Up to


Deaths prevented per year
An estimated


Countries offering protection
Common questions and answers

The most common questions and answers

How do vaccines work? Do they work against viruses and bacteria?
Vaccines work to prime your immune system against future “attacks” by a particular disease. There are vaccines against both viral and bacterial pathogens, or disease-causing agents. Read more
Why aren’t all vaccines 100% effective?
Vaccines are designed to generate an immune response that will protect the vaccinated individual during future exposures to the disease. Individual immune systems, however, are different enough that in some cases, a person’s immune system will not generate an adequate response. As a result, he or she will not be effectively protected after immunization. Read more
Why are there so many vaccines?
Currently, the U.S. childhood vaccination schedule for children between birth and six years of age recommends immunizations for 14 different diseases. Some parents worry that this number seems high, particularly since some of the diseases being vaccinated against are now extremely rare in the United States. Read more
Is natural immunity better than vaccine-acquired immunity?
In some cases, natural immunity is longer-lasting than the immunity gained from vaccination. The risks of natural infection, however, outweigh the risks of immunization for every recommended vaccine. For example, wild measles infection causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) for one in 1,000 infected individuals. Overall, measles infection kills two of every 1,000 infected individuals. In contrast, the combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine results in a severe allergic reaction only once in every million vaccinated individuals, while preventing measles infection. The benefits of vaccine-acquired immunity extraordinarily outweigh the serious risks of natural infection. Read more
Why do some vaccines require boosters?
It’s not completely understood why the length of acquired immunity varies with different vaccines. Some offer lifelong immunity with only one dose, while others require boosters in order to maintain immunity. Recent research has suggested that the persistence of immunity against a particular disease may depend on the speed with which that disease typically progresses through the body. Read more

Latest News

A snapshot of the latest and most relevant news on the subject of vacinations...