General vaccine safety and science

Like everything else in life, vaccines are not completely risk-free. However in the case of all the vaccines used in the current UK routine schedule, the overwhelming evidence is that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating. You can find information on the risks of each vaccine and the diseases they protect against by clicking on the links of the UK immunisation schedule.

It is rarely necessary to delay immunisation, even if a child is not well. It is safe to get vaccinated in all these situations:

  • mild illness without fever, e.g. a cold
  • asthma, eczema or hay fever
  • treatment with antibiotics
  • contact with an infectious disease
  • history of febrile convulsions (fits caused by fever) or epilepsy
  • premature birth (see more information on vaccines and premature babies)
  • being under a certain weight
  • family history of adverse reactions following immunisation

If someone is very unwell with a high temperature, it is a good idea to put off vaccination until they have fully recovered. This is so that symptoms of the illness do not get confused with a reaction to the vaccine.

The vast majority of people can safely be given vaccines. People with some medical conditions may be referred by their GP to a consultant paediatrician or immunologist for expert individual advice. More information on special considerations for people with underlying medical conditions can be found in Chapters 6 and 7 of the Green Book , the Department of Health's document on immunisation against infectious disease.

You can also click on the links below for more information on:


Last updated Monday, September 24th, 2018