Skip to main content

Vaccine resources for health and social care professionals

This page provides information and resources to support health professionals in delivering vaccine programmes.

On this page

Vaccine information

Resources on our immunisation and vaccine pages do not replace the clinical judgement of practitioners. Practitioners should refer to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) immunisation against infectious disease (Green Book) for latest information on administering vaccines and vaccination procedures, for vaccine preventable infectious diseases in the UK.

Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) data sheets and patient leaflets can be searched for on the electronic Medicines Compendium (click the link, type in the name of the vaccine (e.g. polio) into the search box, then click Go):

Medicines complete (formerly British National Formulary (BNF)) is also useful for information on specific vaccines/immunoglobulin:

The Oxford Vaccine Group provides information on vaccines, infectious diseases, vaccine safety and science. The group have produced a useful resource outlining the ingredients in vaccines (Vaccine safety and science section):

You can order vaccination leaflets, posters and other resources at Health Information Resources.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is an independent expert advisory committee that provides immunisation advice to UK health authorities, including vaccination schedules and vaccine safety recommendations. In Wales, it has a statutory responsibility.

The JCVI website contains information, annual reports, meeting minutes, announcements, statements, advice, recommendations, and archived content: Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Green Book

The Green Book has the latest information on vaccines and vaccination procedures, for vaccine preventable infectious diseases in the UK: Immunisation against infectious disease - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Vaccination schedules

The complete immunisation schedule includes information about routine and non-routine vaccinations:

Schedules: UK and other countries

The UK routine immunisation schedule covers all children and adults. Additional vaccines are recommended for certain high risk individuals e.g. Hep B, BCG, pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines. For more information please see the relevant chapters of the Green Book.

Vaccine eligibility information in Wales and England may differ for some programmes.

Vaccination of individuals with uncertain or incomplete immunisation status

The links below detail a reminder, based on the Green Book, to help health professionals vaccinate people correctly to protect them and their families from disease.

Individuals vaccinated according to a non-UK schedule

If children and adults coming to the UK are not known to have been completely immunised, they should be assumed to be unimmunised and a full course of immunisations should be planned.

Immunisation of individuals with underlying medical conditions

Immunisation protocols for post-transplant patients and persons with cancer or leukaemia can be found below:

Immunisation of healthcare and laboratory staff

The Green Book Chapter 12 contains information for public health professionals on immunisation:

Immunisation in pregnancy

Advice for health professionals on pregnant women who are inadvertently vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), chicken pox (varicella), shingles or measles, mumps, rubella.

Vaccine equity

This page includes resources and guidance from Public Health Wales and others to support NHS Wales to reduce inequity and inequalities in vaccine coverage.

 


Training and procedures

Online courses and training materials about number of vaccines and diseases can be accessed via the E-learning page.

Further immunisation training information and resources are provided on the Training Resources and Events page.

Immunity and how vaccines work

Consent

Immunisation procedures

Immunisation by nurses and other health professionals


Storage, distribution and disposal of vaccines

Storage, distribution and disposal of vaccines: the green book, chapter 3 (UKHSA)

The correct handling and storage of vaccines prior to administration is essential in maintaining the effectiveness of vaccines.  The key concept is the cold chain, which includes everything necessary to maintain vaccines under the required storage conditions from manufacturer to administration. The following links offer guidance on the ordering, handling, storage, distribution and disposal of vaccines.

WHO Temperature sensitivity of vaccines offers information on vaccine management to protect vaccines from both heat and cold and incorporates vaccine stability details for vaccines used as part of national immunisation programmes: 

Vaccine Incident Guidance (Updated Jan 2020) Guidance for health professionals involved in immunisation on actions to take in response to vaccine errors:

ImmForm is also utilised to report cold chain incidents:

You can use this poster to keep a record of your details:

Use of vaccines off-label

The dosage regimen for some licensed childhood vaccines is occasionally different (“off-label”) from the recommended regimen in the company’s Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC). This is generally known as “off-label” use.

In these cases, the “off-label” recommendation is supported by guidance from government, the JCVI or a Green Book recommendation and is included in the PGD templates.


Vaccine safety

Contraindications and special considerations

Adverse events following immunisation

There is no such thing as a "perfect" vaccine, which gives 100% protection to everyone who receives it, or one that is entirely safe for everyone in the population to receive.  Effective vaccines (i.e. vaccines inducing protective immunity) may produce some undesirable side effects, but most are mild and generally resolve quickly. Many events thought to be related to vaccination are actually not due to the vaccine itself. It is usually not possible to predict which individuals might have a reaction to a vaccine.  Following guidance on contraindications will ensure the risk of serious adverse effects is minimised.

Reporting vaccine safety issues

The Yellow Card Scheme is vital in helping the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitor the safety of vaccines in the UK. All serious suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) for established medicines and vaccines should be reported, even if the effect is well recognised. Causality does not have to be proved to report a suspected ADR, only a suspicion is needed.

For urgent issues related to a suspected defect in a vaccine the MHRA Defective Medicines Reporting Centre: Contact MHRA - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines can be reported through the Yellow Card scheme at: Yellow Card | Making medicines and medical devices safer (mhra.gov.uk).

The public and healthcare professionals can find further information on the work of the MHRA agency, safety warnings, and how to report any problems at: Medicines, medical devices and blood regulation and safety: Vigilance, safety alerts and guidance - detailed information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Patient Safety Wales supports NHS organisations to improve patient safety: Patient Safety Wales - Delivery Unit (nhs.wales)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) keeps a register of reliable validated websites which can be recommended to parents and professionals: Check the source: WHO-validated websites provide trustworthy information on vaccine safety

Vaccine alerts

The latest MHRA safety warnings, alerts and recalls can be found at: Alerts, recalls and safety information: drugs and medical devices - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Black triangle scheme

New vaccines that are under additional monitoring have an inverted black triangle symbol (▼) displayed in their package leaflet and summary of product characteristic, together with a short sentence explaining what the triangle means – it does not mean the vaccine is unsafe. All suspected ADRs for these vaccines should be reported. Information on the Black Triangle Scheme: The Yellow Card scheme: guidance for healthcare professionals, patients and the public - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Surveillance and monitoring for vaccine safety

Surveillance and monitoring for vaccine safety: the green book, chapter 9 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Vaccination surveillance information can be found at:

Vaccine damage payment scheme

Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: the green book, chapter 10 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme provides a single, tax-free payment to people (or their families) who have suffered severe mental and/or physical disablement as a result of immunisation against certain diseases.

 


Other guidance and information

All Wales Medicine Strategy Group

The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) advises Welsh Government about the use, management and prescribing of medicines in Wales. All Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre (AWTTC) supports AWMSG and its subgroups. The role of AWMSG is to:

  • Develop timely, independent and authoritative advice on new medicines.
  • Advise Welsh Government about future developments in healthcare.
  • Help Welsh Government to develop a medicines prescribing strategy for Wales.

Partnership working

Guidance for partnership working between NHS organisations, primary care contractors, the pharmaceutical industry and allied commercial sector in Wales - All Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Code

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) aims to ensure that the promotion of prescription medicines is carried out in a responsible, ethical and professional manner. The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) was established to operate the Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry independently of the Association itself.

Child health system

In Wales, Health Boards use the Children and Young Persons Integrated System (CYPrIS) application (developed by NHS Wales Informatics Service) to maintain up-to-date records for the children they provide care for.

The CYPrIS application supports the overall management of child health by providing data and statutory reporting requirements to NHS Wales and Public Health Wales.

CYPrIS provides functionality for the National Childhood Immunisation programme. It has a vital role in the call, recall and recording of childhood immunisations. Whenever an immunisation is given in a general practice, at school, at home or in a hospital, to any child up to age 18 years; a scheduled or unscheduled immunisation form must be returned to the Local Child Health Office. This is important, as it ensures the Child Health System records are up to date.

Each health board has a child health department. Contact your local health board and ask to speak to someone in the child health department.

Pre-school vaccination programme

Pre-school Immunisation Resource Pack

School vaccination programme

This section includes links to information and resources for all teenage immunisations and/or school based immunisation programmes.

  • Template self consent form and checklist
Policy letters
Vaccination in school guidance
  • Vaccination in school settings

Other immunisation resources