How to book your child's vaccination appointment
You'll usually be contacted by your GP surgery when your child is due for a routine vaccination. This could be a letter, text, phone call or email.
If you know your child is due for a vaccination, you can speak to your GP surgery to book the appointment. You do not need to wait to hear from them.
It could be at your GP surgery or a local child health clinic.
Your baby can still have their vaccinations if:
- they have a minor illness without a temperature – such as a cold
- they have allergies, asthma, eczema or food intolerances
- they were born prematurely
You can take your baby swimming at any time before and after their immunisations.
Important: Premature babies
It's really important that premature babies still have their vaccinations from 8 weeks old. They may be at higher risk of catching infections if you wait.
It may seem very early to give a vaccination to such a tiny baby. But many scientific studies have shown that it's a good time to give them vaccines.
Non-urgent advice: Speak to your GP surgery if your child:
- has missed any vaccinations
- has a vaccination appointment booked – but you've missed it or cannot attend
- has a vaccination appointment but is ill with a temperature
- has a bleeding disorder (such as haemophilia) or has had a fit (seizure) in the past without a high temperature – let your GP surgery know this before your child has any vaccination
Your GP surgery will be able to give you advice and book you an appointment.
It's best to have vaccines on time, but you can still catch up on most vaccines if you miss them.
Can I refuse my child's vaccinations?
Vaccines are not mandatory in the UK and they cannot be given without your consent.
However, it's important to remember that vaccines will protect your child for many years against a range of serious illnesses.
Without vaccination your child is at greater risk of getting these illnesses.
Can I change my mind about vaccinating my child?
Sometimes parents choose not to vaccinate, but then later decide to make sure their child is protected.
It's best for your child to have their vaccinations according to the NHS vaccination schedule, but it's never too late to check if they can still have them.
Call or visit your GP surgery to make sure your child has any vaccinations they've missed, whatever the reason.
Page last reviewed: 27 March 2023
Next review due: 27 March 2026