What are vaccinations?
Most vaccinations work by introducing an inactivated form of the infection to the body but some (including yellow fever, chickenpox and shingles) use a live virus to stimulate the body's immune system. Read more
Why do I need vaccinations?
Treatments for some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can weaken your immune system. In this situation, live vaccines aren't usually recommended. But inactivated vaccines can still be very helpful in reducing your risk of infection. Read more
What vaccinations should I have?
It’s recommended that everyone over the age of 65 and those with a long-term health condition should be vaccinated against pneumococcus (a bacteria that can cause pneumonia, flu and swine flu). Read more
What are the side-effects of vaccinations?
Common side-effects of vaccinations may include a mild fever and pain at the injection site. There's no evidence that vaccinations cause flare-ups of arthritis or related conditions.
How often should I have them?
This varies according to the type of vaccination. For example, the flu jab is given every year because the virus is constantly changing. Pneumococcal and shingles vaccinations only need to be given once. Read more
Are there any reasons why I won't be vaccinated?
If you have certain allergies, you may not be able to have some vaccinations. And some jabs may need to be delayed if you have an infection. Read more
How well will a vaccination protect me?
No vaccine offers 100% protection, but seasonal flu vaccination will prevent flu in 70–80% of those vaccinated and pneumococcal vaccination is effective in up to 70%. Read more
Are there any types of vaccination I shouldn't have?
It’s important that people on treatments which suppress the immune system avoid live vaccines and oral vaccines. Read more
What should I do if I'm going travelling?
The travel vaccinations you'll need vary depending on where you’re going and what you'll be doing. Check the latest recommendations before you travel, especially if a yellow fever vaccination certificate is normally required. Read more
How else can I reduce the risk of infection?
If you're on treatments that suppress the immune system, you can reduce your risk of picking up an infection by washing your hands frequently, being careful with the food and water you eat and drink and avoiding unpasteurised foods. Read more