General information on vaccines

Until the twentieth century, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and this is still the case in much of the developing world. Immunisation has played a central role in radically reducing the incidence of many dangerous diseases, and some diseases have been wiped out entirely (e.g. smallpox), or are well on the way to being so (e.g. polio). Vaccines have saved many lives, and will save many more in the future, as new vaccines are developed giving protection against more diseases (see Vaccines in Development).

This infographic from Public Health England shows the impact that vaccination has had on infectious diseases in the UK.

What vaccines are available?

In the UK, the following vaccines are routinely offered free of charge by the NHS:



Pregnant women:

The following vaccines are offered free of charge to people in particular risk groups:

Public Health England has produced this timeline showing when different vaccines were introduced into the UK schedule (click here to download a PDF of this document )):

Page last updated: 
Monday, April 9, 2018