SPS provides a variety of resources that may support answering questions about vaccines and immunisation:
SPS provides general advice on temperature management for medicines storage, including guidance on managing temperature excursions. Information on stability out of the fridge is included in the medicines entries for some vaccines. To find information for a specific vaccine, search by generic vaccine name.
Vaccine safety in breastfeeding
SPS provides advice on
For information on travel vaccines, in addition to the resources listed, please see Travel health: resources to support answering questions
SPS produces specific guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines including service advice and planning, and a variety of clinical topics.
If the information is not available on the SPS website or the information resources listed, or if your clinical scenario is complex, we would suggest you seek further advice from our Medicines Advice Service.
Other primary resources
In addition to our own resources, we particularly recommend the following resources that are free to access:
Local formulary or guidelines
Your local Area Prescribing Committee, Medicines Management Group or similar body may have relevant guidelines or documents. For example, formulary status of medicines outside the national vaccination programme, or Patient Group Directions (PGDs) for local use.
The “Green Book”
Immunisation against infectious disease (the “Green Book”), produced by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), provides comprehensive advice on vaccines and immunisation.
Information is presented as chapters divided into two sections:
- Part 1 covers principles, practises and procedures such as contraindications and special considerations (chapter 6) and individuals with underlying medical conditions (chapter 7)
- Part 2 covers individual diseases, listed alphabetically
Each chapter opens as a PDF document; it is useful to familiarise yourself with the format. You can use Ctrl + F to search within a chapter.
Make sure to look at the current version by opening individual chapters; the website also allows access to the complete 2006 edition of the book which is out of date.
UKHSA Immunisation collection
- Childhood immunisation schedules – including a visual guide to vaccines
- Vaccine handling and protocols – including guidance on responding to vaccine errors
- Links to individual vaccine programme collections such as the annual flu programme
Individual vaccine programme collections contain a wealth of useful information including training materials, letters and patient support materials. Particularly helpful are ‘Information for healthcare practitioners’ documents produced for specific vaccination programmes.
- legal frameworks to supply/administer flu vaccines
- eligible patient groups
- recommended vaccines
- managing situations such as inadvertent administration of an extra dose, expired dose or vaccine other than the one recommended
- details of egg and latex content of vaccines
- administration for individuals with bleeding disorders
- managing individuals with incomplete or interrupted schedules or who received vaccines at less than the recommended interval
To find information for healthcare practitioners for other vaccination programmes, first find the individual vaccine programme collection.
Immunisation PGD collection
Immunisation Patient Group Direction (PGD) templates, produced by the UKHSA, are available to support NHS national immunisation programmes.
These templates need further authorisation; locally approved PGDs may be available via your local Area Prescribing Committee, Medicines Management Group or similar body.
Clinical Knowledge Summaries
Useful Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) topics cover vaccines in five areas:
CKS guidance is for primary care health professionals and can be more straightforward to follow than the Green Book.
Summaries of Product Characteristics
SmPCs/SPCs are available via electronic Medicines Compendium and MHRA. They can be useful for answering questions relating to contraindications (section 4.3) excipients (section 6.1) and vaccine storage (section 6.4).
For information on the use of vaccines within national immunisation programmes, follow guidance in the Green Book, UKHSA or NHS resources.
The NHS website has useful information for patients on vaccines and immunisation. To find the information you want, search for vaccination or a specific vaccine.
Particularly useful pages are:
- NHS vaccinations and when to have them which describes the national immunisation programme and links to information about each vaccine.
- Why vaccination is safe and important which includes information on who cannot have vaccines, the difference between live and killed vaccines, and information about vaccine ingredients such as egg protein and formaldehyde.
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