The facts

Vaccinations (immunisation) is a vital element of preventative healthcare in the UK. Vaccinations are available for a whole range of scenarios from travel abroad to the annual flu jab. These include the well known MMR vaccination for babies and young children as well as many others. You can read more about vaccinations for young people on the NHS website.

The benefits

Immunisation protects you and the wider community from a number of preventable infectious diseases. While every medicine can have side effects, vaccines are widely acknowledged to be among the most safe when it comes to prevention. The benefits far outweigh any risks of potential side effects. The NHS promotes many immunisation programmes as a matter of routine healthcare. These apply to all age groups from 8 week old babies right through to age 70 for the flu vaccine annual flu jab).

Winter increases the risk of contracting infectious diseases

Cold weather can have a significant negative impact on health. Staying warm is the best first step to keep well over the winter. See lots more information about common winter infectious diseases on the NHS Choices website:

Norovirus information describes the symptoms, what to do if you become infected and how to help prevent spreading it to others

Colds and flu information provides advice on how help prevent them, the different symptoms, what to do if you become infected it and how to help prevent spreading them to others

Cold sores information tells you how you can prevent them and also advice on how to treat them

What you can do

If you are unsure that you (or people you care for) have received relevant routine vaccinations, then speak with your GP or practice nurse.

Here are some excellent links for advice and tips on getting ready for winter and for staying well when it’s cold outside.