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Vaccinations, Immunisations and Inoculations

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. They work by training your immune system to develop antibodies that protect you from disease.

All vaccines are extensively researched and tested before they are approved for use. Their effectiveness and side effects are also regularly monitored. Existing vaccines are also amended or improved to combat new or dominant strains of certain conditions.

Every year, more than 3 million lives are saved by vaccinations. 

Despite this, misinformation anti-vaccine stories often circulate online, primarily through social media. These stories are often without any scientific backing.

Avoiding or delaying vaccines is detrimental to your health, especially in childhood. The World Health Organisation lists vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to world health.

NHS vaccination schedule

The NHS routine childhood immunisation programme was revised in September 2023. This is the new complete immunisation schedule.

WhenDiseases protected againstVaccine givenTrade nameUsual site
8 weeks oldDiphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) and hepatitis BDTaP/IPV/Hib/HepBInfanrix hexa or VaxelisThigh
Meningococcal group B (MenB)MenBBexseroLeft thigh
Rotavirus gastroenteritisRotavirusRotarixBy mouth
12 weeks oldDiphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Hib and hepatitis BDTaP/IPV/Hib/HepBInfanrix hexa or VaxelisThigh
Pneumococcal (13 serotypes)Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)Prevenar 13Thigh
RotavirusRotavirusRotarixBy mouth
16 weeks oldDiphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Hib and hepatitis BDTaP/IPV/Hib/HepBInfanrix hexa or VaxelisThigh
MenBMenBBexseroLeft thigh
1 year old (on or after the child’s first birthday)Hib and Meningococcal group C (MenC)Hib/MenCMenitorixUpper arm or thigh
PneumococcalPCV boosterPrevenar 13Upper arm or thigh
Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)MMRMMRvaxPro or PriorixUpper arm or thigh
MenBMenB boosterBexseroLeft thigh
Eligible paediatric age groupInfluenza (each year from September)(each year from September)
Live attenuated influenza vaccine LAIV
Fluenz TetraBoth nostrils
3 years 4 months old or soon afterDiphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and poliodTaP/IPVBoostrix-IPVUpper arm
Measles, mumps and rubellaMMR (check first dose given)MMRvaxPro or PriorixUpper arm
Boys and girls aged 12 to 13 yearsCancers and genital warts caused by specific human papillomavirus (HPV) typesHPVGardasil 9Upper arm
14 years old (school Year 9)Tetanus, diphtheria and polioTd/IPV (check MMRstatus)RevaxisUpper arm
Meningococcal groups A, C, W and YMenACWYNimenrixUpper arm
65 years oldPneumococcal (23 serotypesPneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23)Pneumovax 23Upper arm
65 years of age and olderInfluenza (each year from September)Inactivated influenza vaccineMultipleUpper arm
65 from September 2023ShinglesShingles vaccineShingrixUpper arm
70 to 79 years of age (plus eligible age groups and severely immunosuppressed)ShinglesShingles vaccineZostavax (or Shingrix if Zostavax contraindicated)Upper arm

Selective immunisation programmes

Target groupAge and scheduleDiseaseVaccines required
Babies born to hepatitis B infected mothersAt birth, 4 weeks and 12 months oldHepatitis BHepatitis B (Engerix B/HBvaxPRO)
Infants in areas of the country with tuberculosis (TB) incidence >= 40/100,000Around 28 days oldTuberculosisBCG
Infants with a parent or grandparent born in a high incidence countryAround 28 days oldTuberculosisBCG
Children in a clinical risk groupFrom 6 months to 17 years of ageInfluenzaLAIV or inactivated flu vaccine if contraindicated to LAIV or under 2 years of age
Pregnant womenAt any stage of pregnancy during flu seasonInfluenzaInactivated flu vaccine
At any stage of pregnancy during a booster campaignCOVID-19 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
From 16 weeks gestationPertussisdTaP/IPV(Boostrix-IPV)

Additional vaccines for individuals with underlying medical conditions

Medical conditionDiseases protected againstVaccines required
Asplenia or splenic dysfunction (including due to sickle cell and coeliac disease)Meningococcal groups A, B, C, W and YMenACWY
MenB
PneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine
Cochlear implantsPneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
Chronic respiratory and heart conditions(such as severe asthma, chronic pulmonary disease, and heart failure)PneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine
Chronic neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease, or learning disability)PneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine
DiabetesPneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) (including haemodialysis)haemodialysis)
Pneumococcal (stage 4 and 5 CKD)
PCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
Influenza (stage 3, 4 and 5 CKD)Annual flu vaccine
Hepatitis B (stage 4 and 5 CKD)Hepatitis B
Chronic liver conditionsPneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine
Hepatitis AHepatitis A
Hepatitis BHepatitis B
HaemophiliaHepatitis AHepatitis A
Hepatitis BHepatitis B
Immunosuppression due to disease or treatmentPneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
Shingles vaccineShingrix – over 50 years of age
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine
Complement disorders (including those receiving complement inhibitor therapy)Meningococcal groups A, B, C, W and YMenACWY
MenB
PneumococcalPCV13 (up to 10 years of age)
PPV23 (from 2 years of age)
InfluenzaAnnual flu vaccine