Immunisation is a way of preventing infectious diseases.

Vaccinations are offered to babies, children and adults to protect against serious and preventable diseases.

Immunisation uses your body’s natural defence mechanism, the immune response, to build resistance to specific infections. If you have been immunised and you come into contact with that disease, your immune system will respond to prevent you developing the disease.

Vaccines on the National Immunisation Schedule are safe, effective and free.

Your family doctor or practice nurse will give the immunisations. These will be given as injections in the arm or leg.

You can choose to pay for vaccines that are not on the schedule, or for vaccines that you may not be eligible to receive for free, such as Influenza, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A.

Common side-effects of immunisation are redness and soreness at the site of injections and mild fever. While these symptoms may be upsetting at the time, the benefit is protection from the disease.

National and international scientific consensus is that immunisation is one of the most cost-effective means of preventing disease and improving health. Risks associated with immunisation are very rare.

Immunisation is your choice. If you have questions, talk to your doctor or practice nurse or call the Immunisation Advisory Centre free helpline 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).