Immunisation – Keeping safe from diseases
What is immunisation?
Immunisation (say im-you-ny-zay-shun) means putting a special type of substance (a vaccine) into your body so that your body can learn how to fight an infection. That way, you will be protected (or immune) from getting sick if someone around you has the germs for that infection. There are immunisations for many different infections, including some nasty ones.
Immunisation is an easy and very safe way of protecting you. Immunisations are usually given as an injection (by a needle in your arm or leg), a drop that goes into your nose, or sometimes as a medicine that you drink.
The first immunisation happens when you are a little baby, so you will not remember it. You probably had your first immunisation when you were about 2 months old, but now babies are getting their first immunisation (against hepatitis B) as soon as they are born!
If you are going to have an immunisation now that you are older, there is nothing to be scared of. An injection will usually be given in your arm, near your shoulder. It does hurt a little bit, but it will be very quick. If you can relax your muscles it does not hurt as much.
Where can you get your immunisations?
You will get most of your immunisations in school with a nurse. You may get some immunisations at the doctors too if you are going on holiday and need a different type of immunisation to the ones you need in this country.
When should I be immunised?
It is important that you are immunised at the right age. Your school or a trusted adult will let you know when you need to receive your immunisations.