Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases.

Whooping cough (pertussis) vaccinations in pregnancy

Whooping cough (pertussis) cases are rising and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.

Young babies with whooping cough are often very unwell and many are likely to need hospital treatment as it can lead to pneumonia and permanent brain damage.

If you are pregnant, you can help protect your baby by getting vaccinated – ideally from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks pregnant. The immunity you get from the vaccine passes to your baby through the placenta and protects them until they are old enough to be vaccinated at 8 weeks old.

You can access a whooping cough vaccine from your GP and through some antenatal clinics. If you are more than 16 weeks pregnant and have not been offered the vaccine, talk to your midwife or GP and make an appointment to get vaccinated.

Childhood vaccinations / immunisations

Young babies and children are vulnerable to infections, so they need to be protected as early as possible. Childhood vaccines are given at different ages - for different illnesses.  

They begin when babies are two months old and continue through their teenage years. Your child needs several vaccines to protect them from infections, so it’s important to complete their immunisation programme. 

The childhood immunisation schedule is designed to provide early protection against infections that are most dangerous. This is particularly important for diseases such as whooping cough, rotavirus and those due to pneumococcal, Hib and meningococcal infections.  

Most vaccines are given to babies and children as an injection. Infants will receive the rotavirus vaccine by mouth. Children meeting the criteria for the flu vaccine will inhale this via the nose unless it is not safe to do so. 

Before your child starts school, they usually get their vaccinations at their GP practice or local health clinic. The Child Health Clinic or GP practice usually sends you the invitation to make a vaccination appointment. 

Your child can also get some vaccinations at school, which will contact the parent or carer before they give your child a vaccine for consent. If you have any questions, ask your health visitor, school nurse or contact your GP practice. 

If your child has missed a vaccine, you can contact your GP surgery so they can catch up. 

You will usually be contacted by your GP practice but if you know your child is due for a vaccination, you don’t need to wait to be contacted. You can book directly with your GP practice

If you are unsure if you or your child has had all the recommended vaccinations in England – check with your GP practice. It is never too late to catch up on the vaccinations recommended in England.

If you are not registered with a GP practice, you can find details on how to register at If you have problems accessing health care, dial 111.

Vaccines are the safest way to protect you and your family from serious infections – they help you stay healthy.

You can find more information on vaccinations in England in the Moved to the UK leaflet.


Find more information about measles and the MMR vaccine.

Watch this video to find out how infectious it is compared to other illnesses:

HPV vaccine

HPV refers to a group of very common viruses, called the human papillomavirus, which live in the skin in and around the genital area. HPV infections can happen in girls and boys – and they mainly affect the mouth, throat or genital area.

The HPV vaccine programme is offered to children in school at the age of 12 to 13 and is used to prevent a range of cancers, including cervical cancer, cancers of the head and neck, and cancers of the anus and genital areas.

The vaccine is routinely offered through school-aged immunisation services. These are mainly given either in schools or community clinics. From September 2023, all children that receive their vaccine in school will require only one dose of the HPV vaccine. Those who have already received one dose of the vaccine prior to September 2023 will be considered fully vaccinated.

Gay and bisexual men and men can get the HPV vaccine through sexual health clinics up until the age of 45, this includes those that are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system.

It’s not too late to catch up – anyone who missed out on their HPV vaccination will remain eligible until their 25th birthday.

Read more about the HPV vaccine from

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