Hancock wrong on vaccinations?

Health secretary: compulsory vaccinations seriously considered

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Why vaccination is safe and important

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. This page explains how vaccines work, what they contain and the most common side effects.

Watch a video of a GP answering a parents' questions about vaccination


Be aware that anti-vaccine stories are spread online through social media.

They may not be based on scientific evidence and could put your child at risk of a serious illness.

Things you need to know about vaccines



  • protect you and your child from many serious and potentially deadly diseases

  • protect other people in your community - by helping to stop diseases spreading to people who cannot have vaccines

  • get safety tested for years before being introduced - they're also monitored for any side effects

  • sometimes cause mild side effects that will not last long - some children may feel a bit unwell and have a sore arm for 2 or 3 days

  • reduce or even get rid of some diseases - if enough people are vaccinated


  • do not cause autism - studies have found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism

  • do not overload or weaken the immune system - it's safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this reduces the amount of injections they need

  • do not cause allergies or any other conditions - all the current evidence tells us that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating

  • do not contain mercury (thiomersal)

  • do not contain any ingredients that cause harm in such small amounts - but speak to your doctor if you have any known allergies such as eggs or gelatine

Why vaccines are important

Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health.

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