National vaccination programmes

Vaccinations are offered as an NHS service to help protect the population against vaccine preventable diseases such as measles. Once we have been immunised our bodies are better able to fight these diseases if we come into contact with them.

Vaccinations are not compulsory and our aim is to ensure that people are able to make informed choices about whether or not to accept the offer of vaccinations.

For further information on the national vaccination programmes please visit the NHS inform website.

In Scotland, vaccination policy is based on the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert panel which provides impartial advice on matters relating to vaccination, this includes whether to introduce new vaccination programmes.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are an expert body responsible for the safety of all medicines, including vaccines. The MHRA closely monitors the safety of all vaccines.

As part of their responsibility for ensuring public safety the MHRA and the commission on Human Medicines (CHM) run the “yellow card” scheme which is used to collect information from both health professionals and the general public on suspected side effects or adverse reactions to a medicine. Appropriate regulatory action would be taken immediately if new evidence emerged which called into question the safety of any vaccines currently in use across the UK.

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