Vaccines for me

Last modified

December 22, 2016 @ 14:14 PM

Although vaccination in childhood is widely acknowledged as a major public health instrument for disease prevention, immunization remains important throughout each individuals’ life. Indeed, there are several infectious diseases which predominantly affect older age groups and represent a burden and a cost for individuals and for society as a whole.

The objective of this section is not to provide individual medical guidance but to explain why vaccination might be relevant for a specific country or a specific group of the population. For more specific information regarding any vaccinations that may be recommended for you, you should always contact your doctor.

VACCINES DIFFER PER COUNTRY

For each European country, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issues recommendations regarding the administration of vaccines for specific groups, based on the latest scientific data. Click here to find out more about the recommended vaccines for your country.

VACCINES DIFFER PER AGE GROUP

Depending on your personal situation, you might be exposed or vulnerable to some specific diseases. Click on the icon representing your personal situation to find out which vaccines may be recommended for you.

Infants, toddlers and children

A number of immunisations are required in the first few years of a child’s life to protect the child against the most serious infections of childhood. Depending on the vaccine, some (but not all) immunisations must be repeated because the initial protection does not last forever.  This is why several countries recommend repeat doses or “booster shots”: a dose of vaccine that helps the body to maintain immunity against a disease.

Premature babies
The most fragile also benefit from vaccination. Early immunisation is particularly important because premature infants are among the most vulnerable subjects for paediatric infectious diseases.

Infants, toddlers and children

Adolescents

Vaccination does not end with childhood. Adolescent immunisation programmes are available in several European countries. Most offer the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine which reduces the future risk of cervical cancer and genital warts. In addition, MMR catch-up campaigns are offered in some countries for teenagers who may have missed out on their recommended two doses of MMR when they were babies.

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Adolescents

Travelers

Before traveling, people traditionally think to get vaccinated against tropical diseases. However, the risk to be exposed to “common” diseases may also exist in the country you will visit. The risk of exposure might even be higher than in your home country and with a more difficult or limited access to treatment. This is why, before traveling, vaccinations should be based on your medical and vaccination history, on the country you will visit, and on the circumstances of your travel. Your doctor can help you making the appropriate assessment for your personal situation.

Travelers

Immuno-compromised

Immuno-compromised individuals face a higher risk and a more severe course of certain infectious diseases which can be prevented through vaccination. However, some vaccines are not to be given to the immuno-compromised or should be given observing certain precautions in relation to their underlying illness or treatment.

Immuno-compromised

Adults

Parents and other people (including grandparents, caretakers, etc.) who come into close contact with young children are often carriers of some childhood infections. Therefore, not only parents should think about the immunization of their children, but also about their own immunisation to ensure compliance with recommended vaccinations. Indeed, this will also help to avoid to infect the baby in the early months of life before he/she completes the primary vaccination schedule.

Adults

Healthcare Workers

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are in close contact with patients. In view of protecting themselves and their patients, specific vaccinations are recommended or obligatory in several countries.

Healthcare Workers

Older people

The immune system becomes weaker in a natural way with age and leaves older people at risk of a more severe form of disease. This is why health authorities increasingly recommend vaccination of older individuals. For example, vaccination against flu, pneumococcal disease and shingles are available in most European countries.

Older people

Pregnant women

Some vaccinations are recommended to pregnant women either to protect them, or to protect their newborn thanks to the passive transfer through the placenta of protective antibodies from the mother to the baby. For example, vaccination against pertussis can pass on protection to babies, protecting them in the early weeks of their lives before they have their first vaccines. Pregnant women are also a priority group for flu vaccination, according to the World Health Organisation. It is also important that women of childbearing age are immunised against rubella prior to becoming pregnant as this reduces the risk of birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome.

Pregnant women