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Protect yourself from diseases

Vaccinations are a safe and effective way to protect people against potentially damaging and life-threatening diseases.

Most vaccinations are given in childhood and protect against diseases such as tetanus, mumps, measles, polio, meningitis and many others. Childhood vaccinations are given at specific times to ensure that they provide the greatest possible protection from the above diseases.

  • Follow the link to see more details and get more information about the NHS vaccination programme
  • If you have any questions about vaccinations, please speak to your GP or health visitor

Childhood immunisation programme

The childhood immunisation programme is a national programme offered to all children. In Portsmouth, most childhood vaccinations are given at your GP practice. However, some vaccinations like the HPV vaccination for 12 – 13-year-old boys and girls; the flu vaccination for children in years 1 to 6; the MenACWY vaccination for children in year 9; and 3 in 1 booster (tetanus, diphtheria and polio) for children in years 9 and 10 are provided at your child’s school by the School Nursing service.

Your local surgery or the child health department will contact you to remind you to attend for your or your child’s vaccinations. The school nursing service will also contact you with regards to any relevant vaccinations that they offer.

If you feel that your child has been missed or you have not received an invitation, please contact your doctor’s surgery, or your child’s school for the HPV, MenACWY, 3-in-1 booster or flu vaccinations.

Details of when children should receive the different vaccinations offered can be found on the NHS vaccination programme website.

MenACWY meningitis vaccination

The MenACWY vaccination – which protects against four types of meningitis (A, C, W and Y) – was introduced to the childhood immunisation programme for Year 9 and 10 (13-16 years) students in 2015. Children in Portsmouth are now routinely offered this vaccine as part of the school vaccination service.

Students going to university or college for the first time, including overseas and mature students, who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible, as freshers (first-year students), up to their 25th birthday.

Students should contact their GP to have the MenACWY vaccine before starting university or college. If that’s not possible, they should have it as soon as they can after they begin university.

For more information, read the NHS MenACWY leaflet.

Adult vaccinations

Vaccinations available to adults include:

  • Flu – usually for people aged 65+ years and others with certain long-term conditions, pregnant women etc.
  • Pneumococcal – for people aged 65+ years and others with certain long-term conditions
  • Shingles – for people aged 70-79 years
  • Pertussis – due to an increase in whooping cough, a Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is being offered to all pregnant women. Women are advised to have it between 28-32 weeks of pregnancy, but can have it up to 38 weeks.

In most cases, vaccinations are provided at local doctors’ surgeries. Flu and pneumococcal vaccinations are also available at some pharmacies or supermarkets, as well as GP surgeries.

If you have any queries regarding your eligibility for vaccinations, please contact your GP. If you are pregnant, your midwife can also administer the flu vaccine at your antenatal appointment.

If you have any questions about vaccinations, please speak to your GP or health visitor.

Additional vaccinations

Additional vaccinations may be given to groups of people  who are at particular risk of certain diseases. These include:

  • hepatitis B – is offered as part of the vaccination schedule for babies / children, but also other people likely to be at increased risk of getting hepatitis B
  • BCG vaccine to protect against tuberculosis (TB) infection – is offered only when a child or adult is thought to have an increased risk of coming into contact with TB
  • Chickenpox vaccine – not given routinely, only offered to people who are in close contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox or its complications e.g. people who have a weakened immune system and pregnant women.

Travel vaccinations

If you are planning to travel abroad, visit the website below for advice on the vaccines needed for your destination – and plan these well in advance of your travel date.

Although vaccinations for travel are available, most are not be provided by the NHS and you will be charged for the vaccine.