Immunisations protect children against harmful infections before they come in contact with these diseases in the community. Immunisation uses the body’s natural defence mechanism – the immune response – to build resistance to specific infections e.g. Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping cough. Vaccination is the term used for actually giving vaccine to a child usually by injection or nasal spray depending on what it is.
- Immunisation is the safest and most effective way of giving protection against the disease. The benefit of protection against the disease far outweighs the very small risk of immunisation.
- If enough people in the community are immunised, the infection can no longer be spread from person to person and the disease dies out altogether. This is how smallpox was eliminated from the world and polio has disappeared from developed countries.
- All forms of immunisations work in the same way, when someone is injected with or swallows a vaccine their body produces an immune response in the same way it would if exposed to the disease but without getting the disease. If the child comes in contact with the disease in the future the body is able to make an immune response fast enough to prevent them becoming ill.
- Ensure your child’s immunisations are up to date and in your child’s Red Book
- Contact your GP to ensure that your child is booked for all the immunisations
- Check NHS choices to see what immunisations your child is due and when.
- If you are concerned about immunisations or have any questions please speak to your practice nurse or GP.