Child being immunised

Immunisation – A Remarkable Success Story

Immunisation is one of the biggest health successes of the last century.

By 1950, just two years after the NHS came into being, routine vaccination had been established and the health service was vaccinating against whooping cough, tuberculosis, diphtheria and smallpox. 

Prior to vaccination, these highly contagious diseases caused widespread deaths.  Many children died from diseases including whooping cough, measles and polio.

With continued immunisation programmes such diseases are no longer a threat.

Since 1948 over 25 different vaccines have been introduced in the UK.

Immunisation programmes continue to evolve and expand. In recent years we have seen the introduction of vaccinations including:

  • Rotavirus (the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis among children under 5) and Men B for infants
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) for pregnant women, protecting infants from birth and in the first months of life
  • Flu, rolled out to 2-11-year-olds
  • Shingles for adults aged 70 and over

In 1980 due to 30 years of vaccinating we saw worldwide eradication of smallpox virus and in 2002 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Europe free from polio. 

Next to clean water and sanitation, vaccines are one of the greatest and most effective public health achievements in human history.





NHS Fife's Immunisation Team 2018


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