Vaccines Are Vital

Routine immunisations must continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call our Support Services on 080 8800 3344 with any questions or concerns.

How many lives have you saved today?

Vaccines are vital. When you take your loved ones to get vaccinated, you are not only providing lifesaving protection to them, you are also contributing to greater protection for your entire community.

Not everyone can get all available vaccines. People who have weak immune systems, or certain illnesses, can’t get all types of vaccines and so rely on others to help protect them by getting vaccinated. Some vaccines are given only to the main age groups that carry the infectious diseases to protect others. This helps rates of infection to fall among the general population. So when you vaccinate, you are quite literally saving lives.

“The national immunisation programme remains in place to protect the nation’s health and no one should be in any doubt of the devastating impact of diseases such as measles, meningitis and pneumonia." - Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England

When thinking about vaccines, it can be quite confusing to figure out what they do, how they work, when you or your child should have them, and where to go in order to get them.

To help you, we've listed some useful information below.

You can access the immunisation schedules for the UK and Ireland by clicking the links below:

Vaccine availability varies around the world. The Confederation Of Meningitis Organisations (CoMo) holds information of meningitis organisations around the world, which can give details of the specific vaccine schedule in that country. To find an organisation in your country: https://www.comomeningitis.org/find-a-member-in-your-country
 
You can also access some vaccines privately, and your local Travel Vaccination Clinic will be able to give you more information regarding availability and cost. If you are concerned about accessing private vaccine care, the Care Quality Commission Website provides safety information of each establishment administering vaccinations in the UK.

Information can also be found on the Oxford ‘Vaccine Knowledge Project’ website, which provides independent information about vaccines and infectious diseases and may be useful in answering any questions you may have. Our Support Services are here to discuss any vaccine queries or concerns.

What is 'vaccine hesitancy'?

Vaccines have saved billions of lives around the world since their inception. However, despite their proven efficacy and safety, some people don't get all of the vaccines that are freely available to them. This behaviour, known as vaccine hesitancy, was listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the most pressing threats to global health in 2019.

There are several reasons why a person might be vaccine hesitant. Different cultures and sociodemographic groups need different motivations to vaccinate.  Misinformation about vaccines is common and can put people off of having life-saving immunisation. Additionally, we rarely come face to face with the devastation that diseases like polio, tetanus, measles and meningitis can cause. Although this is proof of the success of vaccination, it has meant that people may be less concerned about these diseases than before.

Please click here to find out more about vaccine hesitancy.

“Immunization is one of the most powerful and fundamental disease prevention tools in the history of public health. Disruption to immunization programmes from the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to unwind decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.” - Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General

Vaccines and "fake news"

It is very easy for misinformation to spread online, and it can be hard to know where to turn for accurate information. Sometimes, we will see something online that appears true, only to be later told that it is “fake news”. If we have shared that information with our friends and family, we may then feel silly – or even angry.
The best way to prevent this feeling is to ask yourself some questions about any piece of information or content before you share it. The UK’s independent fact checking charity, Full Fact, has outlined 3 questions that you can use to interrogate information. Click the tabs below to find out more.
A.
A reliable piece of information will have a clear source. Copy and pasted content, which does not have a source, may not necessarily be reliable. Images are another way of widely circulating misinformation and will not always have a clear source.

Sometimes, however, a piece of information will look as if has a source, but that source may not be reliable. For example, you might see a quote from a “Dr Jones” and assume that it is therefore trustworthy, but that person may not exist. Or, it may be linked to a website – and therefore you’ll again think it’s trustworthy – but that website may itself be full of unsourced information.

If you cannot easily find a source, you can Google a section of the information with quotation marks around it. For example, “Meningitis Research Foundation” will only look for those words, in that order. If you Google a quote from the information in that manner, you will hopefully find the source.

Of course, not every piece of information without a source on the internet is untrue. However, if you cannot find a trustworthy source linked to it, it is worth reconsidering before you press share.
A.
Trustworthy information will contain the full story, not simply a “clickbait” headline. Reputable news sites will commonly contain quotes from authority figures, data that you can click on to verify accuracy, and – in some cases – information from emergency services.

If a piece of information is missing context, proceed with caution before trusting it completely. Again, you can Google the subject matter to find out more information.
 
A.
Misinformation is designed to be shared, and we are more likely to share something when we have an emotional connection to it. Individuals that create misinformation play on our everyday hopes and fears to drive clicks and engagement.

For example, misinformation about a “miracle cure” for a deadly disease is more likely to grab people’s attention because we want to believe a miracle cure is possible; whilst the true story, which is likely more complicated and may be disappointing, is more uncomfortable to deal with.

When you come across information online that you aren’t 100% sure about, think about how it’s making you feel. Are the words they use dramatic and emotional? If so, pause before sharing.
For the further information, please visit:
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
£160/€190/$214 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria. This information helps us to track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines.
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Media contact
Rob Dawson - Director of Advocacy, Communications and Support
Tel: 0333 405 6262