COVID-19 update.

It is still important for you or your child to attend the surgery for all routine vaccinations.

Should you have any concerns or questions during these challenging times please do not hesitate to contact the surgery.


This guide can help you understand the vaccines offered in the UK and when to have them. It also explains how they work and why they're safe and important.There's separate page for Travel Vaccinations.

Why vaccination is safe and important

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. This page explains how vaccines work, what they contain and the most common side effects.
Be aware that anti-vaccine stories are spread online through social media.They may not be based on scientific evidence and could put your child at risk of a serious illness.

Things you need to know about vaccines



  • protect you and your child from many serious and potentially deadly diseases
  • protect other people in your community – by helping to stop diseases spreading to people who cannot have vaccines
  • Get safety tested for years before being introduced – they're also monitored for any side effects
  • Sometimes cause mild side effects that will not last long – some children may feel a bit unwell and have a sore arm for 2 or 3 days
  • Reduce or even get rid of some diseases – if enough people are vaccinated


  • do not cause autism – studies have found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism
  • do not overload or weaken the immune system – it's safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this reduces the amount of injections they nee
  • do not cause allergies or any other conditions – all the current evidence tells us that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating
  • do not contain mercury (thiomersal)
  • do not contain any ingredients that cause harm in such small amounts – but speak to your doctor if you have any known allergies such as eggs or gelatine

Why vaccines are important

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.

How vaccines work

Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases.It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and treating them.Once your immune system knows how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years.

Herd immunity

Having a vaccine also benefits your whole community through "herd immunity".If enough people are vaccinated, it's harder for the disease to spread to those people who cannot have vaccines. For example, people who are ill or have a weakened immune system.
Information:Read more about herd immunity and who it protects on the Oxford University Vaccine Knowledge Project website.

Why vaccines are safe

All vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they will not harm you or your child.It often takes many years for a vaccine to make it through the trials and tests it needs to pass for approval.Once a vaccine is being used in the UK it's also monitored for any rare side effects by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).Anyone can report a suspected side effect of vaccination to the MHRA through the Yellow Card Scheme.
Information:Read all about how vaccines are licensed, tested and monitored on the Oxford University Vaccine Knowledge Project website.

Side effects of vaccination

Most of the side effects of vaccination are mild and do not last long.The most common side effects of vaccination include:
  • the area where the needle goes in looking red, swollen and feeling a bit sore for 2 to 3 days
  • babies or young children feeling a bit unwell or developing a high temperature for 1 or 2 days
Some children might also cry and be upset immediately after the injection. This is normal and they should feel better after a cuddle.

Allergic reactions

It's rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccination. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.The person who vaccinates you or your child will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately. With prompt treatment, you or your child will make a good recovery.Read vaccination tips for parents, including what to expect after vaccination.

Non-urgent advice:Speak to your GP or practice nurse if:

  • you're worried about you or your child having a vaccine
  • you're not sure if you or your child can have a vaccine
You could also ask a health visitor any questions you have about vaccines.

What's in a vaccine?

Most people are not concerned about vaccine ingredients and know that they are safe.The main ingredient of any vaccine is a small amount of bacteria, virus or toxin that's been weakened or destroyed in a laboratory first.This means there's no risk of healthy people catching a disease from a vaccine. It's also why you might see vaccines being called "live" or "killed" vaccines.

Other vaccine ingredients

Vaccines sometimes contain other ingredients that make the vaccine safe and more effective.There is no evidence that any of these ingredients cause harm when used in such small amounts.
A full list of any vaccine's ingredients is available on the electronic medicines compendium (emc) website.
Information:Read more about specific vaccine ingredients on the Oxford University Vaccine Knowledge Project website.

Travel Vaccinationsglobal air travel

If you require any vaccinations relating to foreign travel you need to make an appointment with the practice nurse to discuss your travel arrangements. This will include which countries and areas within countries that you are visiting to determine what vaccinations are required.

There is further information about countries and vaccinations required on the links below


Europe Europe & Russia North America North America
Central America Central America South America South America
Caribbean Caribbean Africa Africa
Middle East Middle East Central Asia Central Asia
East Asia East Asia Australasia Australasia and Pacific

It is important to make this initial appointment as early as possible - at least 6 weeks before you travel - as a second appointment will be required with the practice nurse to actually receive the vaccinations. These vaccines have to be ordered as they are not a stock vaccine. Your second appointment needs to be at least 2 weeks before you travel to allow the vaccines to work.

Some travel vaccines are ordered on a private prescription and these incur a charge over and above the normal prescription charge. This is because not all travel vaccinations are included in the services provided by the NHS.

Please be sure to speak to your practice nurse as not all vaccinations are available at our surgery.


Travel Health Questionnaire















Travelling in Europe

If you are travelling to Europe a very useful booklet has been published with advice and guidance to help you get the most out of your holiday. To visit please click:- (this is a large document and may take a minute or two to view)

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