Immunisation is a way of protecting against serious infectious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight those diseases if we come into contact with them.
Vaccines contain a small amount of the bacteria or virus that causes a disease, or tiny amounts of the chemicals that the bacteria produce. Vaccines work by causing the body’s immune system to make antibodies (substances that fight off infection and disease).
If your child comes into contact with the infection, the antibodies will recognise it and be ready to protect them. Because vaccines have been used so successfully in the UK, diseases such as diphtheria have almost disappeared.
There are some diseases that can kill children or cause lasting damage to their health. Immunisations are given to prepare your child’s immune system to fight off those diseases if they come into contact with them.
For more information about vaccinations you can talk to your doctor, school nurse or find more on these websites