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
- undergo rigorous safety testing before being introduced – they're also constantly monitored for side effects after being introduced.
- 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.
What don’t vaccines do:
- 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 need.
- 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
- 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 are vaccines 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 do vaccines work?
Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases.
Once your immune system knows how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years.
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).