Vaccination policy

Vaccination policy is the health policy a government adopts in relation to vaccination. Vaccination policies have been developed over the approximately two centuries since the invention of vaccination with the purpose of eradicating disease from, or creating a herd immunity for, the population the government aims to protect. Vaccination advisory committees within each country are usually responsible for providing information to governments that is used to make evidence-based decisions regarding vaccine and immunization policy.

Vaccination policy by country
     Mandatory      Required for schooling or welfare      Recommended

Vaccinations are voluntary in some countries and mandatory in others, with mandatory vaccination policies sometimes leading to opposition. Some governments pay for all or part of the costs of vaccinations in a national vaccination schedule. Cost-benefit analyses of vaccinations have shown that there is an economic incentive to implement vaccination policies as vaccinations can save a significant number of lives and costs.

Generally, vaccine supply is highly regulated by local government. Also, because of the large cost of developing a vaccine, the prices of vaccines are mostly high. Therefore, vaccine policy is effected by regulations and competition.[1]


Immunity and herd immunity

Vaccination policies aim to produce immunity to preventable diseases. Besides individual protection from getting ill, some vaccination policies also aim to provide the community as a whole with herd immunity. Herd immunity refers to the idea that the pathogen will have trouble spreading when a significant part of the population has immunity against it. This protects those unable to get the vaccine due to medical conditions, such as immune disorders.[2] However, for herd immunity to be effective in a population, a majority of those who are vaccine-eligible must be vaccinated.[3]

State and local vaccination requirements for daycare and school entry are important tools for maintaining high vaccination coverage rates, and in turn, lower rates of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs).[4]

Vaccine-preventable diseases remain a common cause of childhood mortality with an estimated three million deaths each year.[5] Each year, vaccination prevents between two and three million deaths worldwide, across all age groups, from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles.[6]

Eradication of diseases

Malaria Clinic in Tanzania helped by SMS for Life

With some vaccines, a goal of vaccination policies is to eradicate the disease  disappear it from Earth altogether. The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinated the effort to eradicate smallpox globally through vaccination, the last naturally occurring case of smallpox was in Somalia in 1977.[7] Endemic measles, mumps and rubella have been eliminated through vaccination in Finland.[8] On 14 October 2010, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization declared that rinderpest had been eradicated.[9] The WHO is currently working to eradicate polio,[10] which was eradicated in Africa in August 2020 and remained only in Pakistan and Afghanistan at the time.[11]

Individual versus group goals

Individuals will attempt to minimize the risk of illness, and may seek vaccination for themselves or their children if they perceive a high threat of disease and a low risk to vaccination.[12] However, if a vaccination program successfully reduces the disease threat, it may reduce the perceived risk of disease enough so that an individual's optimal strategy is to encourage everyone but their family to be vaccinated, or (more generally) to refuse vaccination once vaccination rates reach a certain level, even if this level is below that optimal for the community.[13][14] For example, a 2003 study found that a bioterrorist attack using smallpox would result in conditions where voluntary vaccination would be unlikely to reach the optimum level for the U.S. as a whole,[15] and a 2007 study found that severe influenza epidemics cannot be prevented by voluntary vaccination without offering certain incentives.[16] Governments often allow exemptions to mandatory vaccinations for religious or philosophical reasons, but decreased rates of vaccination may cause loss of herd immunity, substantially increasing risks even to vaccinated individuals.[17] However, mandatory vaccination policies raise ethical issues regarding parental rights and informed consent.[18]

Compulsory vaccination

At various times governments and other institutions have established policies requiring vaccination, with the aim of reducing the risk of disease. For example, an 1853 law required universal vaccination against smallpox in England and Wales, with fines levied on people who did not comply.[19] In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) that states have the authority to require vaccination against smallpox during a smallpox epidemic.[20] All fifty U.S states require that children be vaccinated to attend public school,[21] although 47 states provide exemptions based on religious or philosophical beliefs.[22] Forced vaccination (as opposed to fines or refusal of services) is rare and typically happens only as an emergency measure during an outbreak. A few other countries also follow this practice. Compulsory vaccination greatly reduces infection rates for the diseases the vaccines protect against.[19] These policies stirred resistance from a variety of groups, collectively called anti-vaccinationists, who objected on ethical, political, medical safety, religious, and other grounds.[23] Other reasons including that socioeconomic disparities and being an ethnic minority can prevent reasonable access to vaccinations.[24][25]

Common objections included the argument that governments should not infringe on an individual's freedom to make medical decisions for themselves or their children, or claims that proposed vaccinations were dangerous.[23] Many modern vaccination policies allow exemptions for people with compromised immune systems, allergies to vaccination components, or strongly held objections.[26] It has also been argued that for vaccination to effectively prevent disease, there must be not only available vaccines and a population willing to immunize, but also sufficient ability to decline vaccination on grounds of personal belief.[27]

In 1904 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following an urban renewal program that displaced many poor, a government program of mandatory smallpox vaccination triggered the Vaccine Revolt, several days of rioting with considerable property damage and a number of deaths.[28]

Compulsory vaccination is a difficult policy issue, requiring authorities to balance public health with individual liberty:

Vaccination is unique among de facto mandatory requirements in the modern era, requiring individuals to accept the injection of a medicine or medicinal agent into their bodies, and it has provoked a spirited opposition. This opposition began with the first vaccinations, has not ceased, and probably never will. From this realisation arises a difficult issue: how should the mainstream medical authorities approach the anti-vaccination movement? A passive reaction could be construed as endangering the health of society, whereas a heavy-handed approach can threaten the values of individual liberty and freedom of expression that we cherish.[23]

An ethical dilemma emerges when health care providers attempt to persuade vaccine-hesitant families towards receiving vaccinations as this persuasion may lead to violating their autonomy.[3] Investigation of different types of vaccination policy finds strong evidence that standing orders and allowing healthcare workers without prescription authority (such as nurses) to administer vaccines in defined circumstances increases vaccination rates, and sufficient evidence that requiring vaccinations before attending child care and school also does so.[29] However, there is insufficient evidence to assess effectiveness of requiring vaccinations as a condition for hospital and other healthcare jobs.[30]

Many countries, including Canada, Germany, Japan, and the United States have specific requirements for reporting vaccine-related adverse effects, while other countries including Australia, France, and the United Kingdom include vaccines under their general requirements for reporting injuries associated with medical treatments.[31] A number of countries have both compulsory vaccination and national programs for the compensation of injuries alleged to have been caused by a vaccination.[32]

Parents versus children's rights

Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan argues that children have a right to the best available medical care, including vaccines, regardless of parental opinions toward vaccines, saying "Arguments about medical freedom and choice are at odds with the human and constitutional rights of children. When parents won't protect them, governments must."[33][34] However, government entities such as child protective services can intervene only when the parents directly harm their child via abuse or neglect. Although withholding medical care meets the criteria of abuse or neglect, refusing vaccinations does not as the child is not being harmed directly.[35]

To prevent the spread of disease by unvaccinated individuals, some schools and doctors' surgeries have prohibited unvaccinated children from being enrolled, even where not required by law.[36][37] Doctors who refuse to treat unvaccinated children harm both the child and public health, and may be considered unethical when parents are unable to find another provider.[38] Opinion on this is divided, with the largest professional association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, saying that exclusion of unvaccinated children may be an option under narrowly defined circumstances.[39]

One historical example is the 1990–91 Philadelphia measles outbreak, which occurred in an anti-vaccination faith healing community, causing nine children to die. Court orders were obtained to have infected children given life-saving medical treatment against the wishes of their parents, and also for healthy children to be vaccinated without parental consent.[40][41]

Evaluating vaccination policy

Vaccines as a positive externality

The promotion of high levels of vaccination produces the protective effect of herd immunity as well as positive externalities in society.[42] Large scale vaccination is a public good, in that the benefits obtained by an individual from large scale vaccination are both non-rivalrous and non-excludable, and given these traits, individuals may avoid the costs of vaccination by "free-riding"[42] off the benefits of others being vaccinated.[42][43][44] The costs and benefits to individuals and society have been studied and critiqued in stable and changing population designs.[45][46][47] Other surveys have indicated that free-riding incentives exist in individual decisions,[48] and in a separate study that looked at parental vaccination choice, the study found that parents were less likely to vaccinate their children if their children's friends had already been vaccinated.[49]

Trust in vaccination

Trust in vaccines and in the health system is an important element of public health programs that aim to deliver lifesaving vaccines. Trust in vaccination and health care is an important indicator of government work and the effectiveness of social policy. The success in overcoming diseases and in vaccination depend on the level of trust in vaccine and health care. The lack of trust in vaccines and immunization programs can lead to vaccine refusal, risking disease outbreaks and challenging immunization goals in high- and low-income settings. Today, the medical and scientific communities obviously face a big challenge where vaccines are concerned, namely enhancing the trust with which the general public regards the entire endeavor. Indeed, earning the public's trust in public health is a big challenge. Accurately, studying the trust in vaccines, understanding the factors that effect on the reduction of trust, allows authorities to build an effective vaccine campaign and communication strategies to fight the disease. Trust is key parameter to work with before and while undertaking any vaccine campaigns. The state is responsible to provide a smart communication and inform a population about disease, vaccine and risks. The WHO recommends that states should: work long-term to build population resilience against vaccine rumours and scares, build a strong programme that is well prepared to respond to any event that may erode trust, and respond immediately to any event which may erode trust in health authorities.[50]

Cost-benefit – United States

Since the first economic analysis of routine childhood immunizations in the United States in 2001 that reported cost savings over the lifetime of children born in 2001,[51] other analyses of the economic costs and potential benefits to individuals and society have since been studied, evaluated, and calculated.[52][53] In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a decision analysis that evaluated direct costs (program costs such as vaccine cost, administrative burden, negative vaccine-linked reactions, and transportation time lost to parents to seek health providers for vaccination).[53] The study focused on diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type b conjugate, poliovirus, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), hepatitis B, varicella, 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate, hepatitis A, and rotavirus vaccines, but excluded influenza. Estimated costs and benefits were adjusted to 2009 dollars and projected over time at three percent interest.[53] Of the theoretical group of 4,261,494 babies beginning in 2009 who had regular immunizations through childhood in accordance with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines "will prevent ∼42 000 early deaths and 20 million cases of disease, with net savings of $13.5 billion in direct costs and $68.8 billion in total societal costs, respectively".[53] In the United States, and in other nations,[54][55][56] there is an economic incentive and "global value" to invest in preventive vaccination programs, especially in children as a means to prevent early infant and childhood deaths.[57]

Cost-benefit for older adults

Furthermore, there is an economic incentive to establish vaccination programs for older adults as the general population is aging due to increasing life expectancy and decreasing birth rates.[58] Vaccinations can be used to reduce the issues linked with both polypharmacy and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the older demographic with comorbidities by preventing infectious diseases and decreasing the necessity of polypharmacy and antibiotics.[59][60] One study done in Western Europe found that the estimated cost of vaccinating one person over a lifetime against 10–17 potentially debilitating pathogens would be between €443 to €3,395 (assuming 100% compliance).[61] Another European study found that if 75% of adults over 65 were vaccinated against seasonal influenza, 3.2–3.8 million cases and 35,000–52,000 influenza-related deaths could be avoided, and €438–558 million saved annually solely in the European continent.[62]

International Organizations

In 2006, the World Health Organization and UNICEF created the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS). This organization created a ten-year strategy with four main goals:[63]

  • to immunize more people against more diseases
  • to introduce a range of newly available vaccines and technologies
  • to integrate other critical health interventions with immunization
  • to manage vaccination programmes within the context of global interdependence

The Global Vaccination Action Plan was created by the World Health Organization and endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2012. The plan which is set from 2011 to 2020 is intended to "strengthen routine immunization to meet vaccination coverage targets; accelerate control of vaccine-preventable diseases with polio eradication as the first milestone; introduce new and improved vaccines and spur research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies".[64]

By country


Strictest policy
Poliomyelitis[lower-alpha 12]
Required for school Required for welfare Sources
 Argentina N/AYes
 Australia RANORARANORARARARANONORARANORANORARANOPre-school and daycare in NSW, VIC and WAYes[65][66][67][68]
 Canada N/AIn New Brunswick and Ontario[73]
 Croatia MAMAMARANOMAMARANOMAMAMAMANONONONONONONurseries, preschools and kindergartens[69]
 Czech Republic MAMSMARARSMAMARARSMAMAMARARSRARARSRANONurseries, preschools and kindergartens[69]
 Russia N/ANo[82]
 Serbia MAMAMARANOMAMARANOMAMAMAMANONONONONONONurseries, preschools and kindergartens[83][84]
 South Africa N/ANo[85]
 Switzerland N/ANo
 Ukraine N/AYes
 United States N/AYes
Strictest policy
Poliomyelitis[lower-alpha 12]
Required for school Required for welfare Sources
  Mandatory to all
  Mandatory to specific people
  Recommended to all
  Recommended to specific people
  Neither mandatory nor recommended to anyone
  1. Tuberculosis
  2. DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough))
  3. Influenza (flu)
  4. Hepatitis A
  5. Hepatitis B
  6. Haemophilus Influenza B
  7. Human papillomavirus
  8. Meningo
  9. MR (Measles and Rubella) is usually provided as MMR vaccine.
  10. Mumps vaccine is usually provided as MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella).
  11. Pneumo
  12. Poliomyelitis
  13. Rabies
  14. Rotavirus
  15. Tick-borne encephalitis
  16. Chickenpox (varicella)
  17. Shingles (herpes zoster)
  18. Yellow Fever


In December 2018, Argentina enacted a new vaccine policy requiring all persons who are medically able, both adults and children, to be vaccinated against specified diseases. Proof of vaccination is required to attend any level of school, from infancy through adulthood, or obtain a marriage license, or any kind of government ID, including a passport or driver's license. Furthermore, the law requires the government to pay for all aspects of all vaccinations. The law deems vaccination to be a national emergency, and therefore exempts vaccines from internal and customs taxes.[86][87]


Vaccine schedule
Vaccine Schedule for Australia: 1 April 2019[88]
Infection Birth Months Years Preg
2 4 6 12 18 4 12<13 14<16 >15 >50 65+ 70
Rotavirus RV RV
Hepatitis A HepA§[lower-alpha 1] HepA§[lower-alpha 1]
Hepatitis B HepB DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib[lower-alpha 2]
Diphtheria Tdap Tdap
Polio DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib
Haemophilus influenzae
Meningococcus MenACWY MenACWY MenACWY MenACWY[lower-alpha 2]
Pneumococcus PCV13 PCV13 PCV13# PCV13 PCV13[lower-alpha 2]
PCV13§[lower-alpha 1]
Measles MMR MMRV MMRV[lower-alpha 2]
Human papillomavirus HPV x2 HPV x2[lower-alpha 2]
Influenza IIV (yearly) IIV (yearly)
IIV (yearly)#
IIV (yearly)§
Herpes Zoster ZVL
  •    Recommended ages for everyone.
  •   # Recommended ages for certain other high-risk groups.
  •    Recommended ages for catch-up immunization.
  •   § Recommended range of additional vaccinations for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.
  1. Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia
  2. All people aged less than 20 years are eligible for free catch up vaccines.

In an effort to boost vaccination rates in Australia, the Australian government has decided that starting on 1 January 2016, certain benefits (such as the universal "Family Allowance" welfare payments for parents of children) will no longer be available for conscientious objectors of vaccination; those with medical grounds for not vaccinating will continue to receive such benefits.[89] The policy is supported by a majority of Australian parents as well as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and Early Childhood Australia. In 2014, about 97 percent of children under seven were vaccinated, though the number of conscientious objectors to vaccination has increased by 24,000 to 39,000 over the past decade.[90]

The government began the Immunise Australia Program to increase national immunisation rates.[91] They fund a number of different vaccinations for certain groups of people. The intent is to encourage the most at-risk populations to get vaccinated.[92] The government maintains an immunization schedule.[93]

In most states and territories, children can consent to vaccinations if they are judged Gillick competent; normally, this applies to children aged 15 or older.[94] In South Australia, the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 allows children 16 and older to consent to medical treatment.[95] Additionally, children under this age can be immunized if judged capable of informed consent.[95] In New South Wales, children can consent to medical treatment at the age of 14.[95]

When several COVID-19 vaccines were nearing completion in November 2020, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that all international travellers who fly to Australia without proof of a COVID-19 vaccination would be required to quarantine at their own expense.[96]


Vaccinating children is mandatory in Brazil since 1975, when the federal government instituted the National Immunization Program.[97] The compulsory character was written into law in 1990 in the Statute of Children and Adolescents (Art. 14, Para. 1).[98] Parents in Brazil who don't take their children to be vaccinated run the risk of being fined or charged with negligence.[99]

Vaccine schedule
Brazilian National Vaccination Schedule: 2018[100]
Infection Gestation Birth Months Years
2 3 4 5 6 9 12 15 4 5 9 11 10-59 60+
Tuberculosis BCG
Hepatitis A HepA
Hepatitis B HepB5V5V5V
Diphtheria DTPaDTPaDTPaDTPa
Haemophilus influenzae
Pneumococcus 10v10v10v23v23v
Meningococcus MenCMenCMenC
Rotavirus RVRV
Varicella VV
Yellow fever YF
Human papillomavirus HPV x2 (girls)HPV x2 (boys)
Flu IIVIIV (yearly)IIV (yearly)


Vaccination in Canada is voluntary.[73] While vaccination is generally required to attend school in Ontario and New Brunswick there are exemptions given to those who are opposed.[73]


Vaccine schedule
Alberta Vaccine Schedule: 2015[101]
Infection Months Years
2 4 6 12 18 4 10-13 15-17 65+
Hepatitis B HepB
Diphtheria DTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPTdap
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Pneumococcus PneuC13PneuC13PneuC13
Meningococcus MenCMenCMenC-ACYW
Human papillomavirus HPVHPV (boys)
Flu IIV (yearly)

British Columbia

Vaccine schedule
British Columbia Vaccine Schedule: 2015[101]
Infection Months Years
2 4 6 12 18 4 10-13 15-17 65+
Hepatitis B HepBHepBHepB
Rotavirus RVRV
Diphtheria DTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPTdap
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Pneumococcus PneuC13PneuC13PneuC13
Varicella VV
Meningococcus MenCCVMenCCV
Human papillomavirus HPV (girls)
Flu IIV (yearly)

New Brunswick

Vaccine schedule
New Brunswick Vaccine Schedule: 2015[101]
Infection Birth Months Years
2 4 6 12 18 4 10-13 15-17 65+
Hepatitis B HepBHepBHepB
Diphtheria DTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPTdap
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Pneumococcus PneuC13PneuC13PneuC13
Meningococcus MenCCVMenC-ACYW
Human papillomavirus HPV (girls)
Flu IIV (yearly)


Vaccine schedule
Ontario Vaccine Schedule: 2017[101]
Infection Months Years
2 4 6 12 15 18 4 10-13 15-17
Hepatitis B HepB
Rotavirus RVRV
Diphtheria DTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPDTaPTdap
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Pneumococcus PCV13PCV13PCV13
Varicella VV
Meningococcus MenCMenC-ACYW
Human papillomavirus HPV (girls)


Vaccine schedule
Quebec Vaccine Schedule: 2019[102][103]
Infection Months Years
2 4 6 12 18 4-6 9 14-16 Adult 50 65 75
Hepatitis A HepA
Hepatitis B HepBHepBHepBHepB
Rotavirus RVRV
Diphtheria DTaPDTaPDTaP DTaPTdapTdapTdapTdap
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Pneumococcus PCV10PCV10PCV10PPV23
Varicella VV
Meningococcus MenCCMenCC
Human papillomavirus HPV


China has passed the World Health Organization's (WHO) regulatory vaccine assessments, demonstrating that they adhere to international standards.[104] The Chinese government's Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) was created in 1978 and provides certain obligatory vaccines, named Category 1 vaccines, for free to all children up to 14 years of age. Initially, the vaccines consisted of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, oral polio vaccine (OPV), measles vaccine (MV) and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DPT vaccine).[105] By 2007, the vaccine list was expanded to include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, A + C meningococcal polysaccharide, mumps, Rubella, hemorrhagic fever, anthrax, and leptospirosis.[106] Category 2 vaccines, such as the rabies vaccine, are private-sector, non-obligatory vaccines that are not included in neither EPI nor the government health insurance.[107] Due to the privatized nature of Category 2 vaccines, these vaccinations are associated with low coverage rates.[108]

Both the Changsheng Bio-Technology Co Ltd and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products have been fined for selling ineffective vaccines.[109][110] In December 2018, China enacted new laws imposing strict controls over the production and inspection of aspects of vaccine production from research, development, and testing through production and distribution.[111][112]


Vaccine schedule
Vaccination Schedule for Finland[113][114]
Infection Birth Months Years
2 3 5 6 12 18 3 4 6 1112 1415 25 65+
Tuberculosis BCG[lower-alpha 1]
Rotavirus RV RV RV
Diphtheria DTaP DTaP DTaP DTaP Tdap Td (10yearly)[lower-alpha 2]
Haemophilus influenzae HIB HIB HIB
Hepatitis B HepB
Pneumococcus PCV10[52] PCV10[52] PCV10[52] PCV13 + PPSV23[52][lower-alpha 3]
Measles MMR[lower-alpha 4] MMRV
Varicella[lower-alpha 5] VV
Human papillomavirus HPV (girls)[115]
Influenza IIV3[lower-alpha 6] IIV3
Tick-borne encephalitis TBE[lower-alpha 7]
  1. For specific at risk-groups only (to be given at the earliest age
  2. Thereafter Td booster every 10 years with or without vaccination against poliomyelitis (IPV) in case of travel to endemic areas and when previous IPV dose was given more than 5 years before
  3. Recommended but not free of charge for those over 65 years.
  4. Vaccination can be given from 6 months of age in case of travel abroad. If vaccination starts before 12 months of age, 2 doses are recommended (14–18 months and 6 years) The temporary recommendation of giving measles at 12 months of age was made a permanent recommendation; ie. now MMR should be given from 12–18 months except if travelling abroad to measles infected countries when it can be given from 6 months on. In case MMR is given at 6–11 months, the child needs a second and third dose to complete the series.
  5. Varicella vaccination implemented from 1 September 2017. Catch-up to all those born on 1 January 2006 or after and with no history of varicella.
  6. One or two doses administered depending on previous influenza vaccination history. Annual vaccination. IIV tri-or quadrivalent used as follows: IIV3 for all those 6–35 months. IIV4 with nonpreferential alternative to all those 24–35 months. IIV3 also recommended to medical risk group children from 36 months up.
  7. TBE vaccination for to those living permanently on the island of Åland
1960: Mumps vaccinations for military recruits.
1975: Measles vaccination for 1 year old children.
1975: Rubella vaccination for 1113 years old girls and seronegative mothers.
1982: Two doses of MMR vaccination at 1418 months and 6 years of age were introduced in the national childhood vaccination programme.
2009: Rotavirus vaccine introduced at 2, 3 and 5 months to all children (September 2009)
2010: PCV introduced at 3, 5 and 12 months of age to all children (September 2010).
2013: HPV vaccination introduced
2017: Varicella vaccination introduced (1 September 2017) at 18 months, 6 years + catch-up of all born from 1 January 2006 or after with no history of varicella.


Vaccine schedule
Vaccination Schedule for France
Infection Months Years
0 1 2 4 6 11 12 13 15 1618 23 2 5 6 1113 25 45 65+
Tuberculosis BCG BCG#
Diphtheria D D D D D d
Tetanus TT TT TT TT TT
Pertussis acP acP acP acP acp
Haemophilus influenzae Hib Hib Hib
Hepatitis B HepB HepB HepB HepB HepB
Pneumococcus PCV PCV PCV
Meningococcus MenC
Human papillomavirus HPV
Influenza TIV
Herpes Zoster HZ
   General Recommendation   # Recommended for specific groups only.    Catch-up

In France, the High Council of Public Health is in charge of proposing vaccine recommendations to the Minister of Health. Each year, immunization recommendations for both the general population and specific groups are published by the Institute of Epidemiology and Surveillance.[france 1] Since some hospitals are granted additional freedoms, there two key people responsible for vaccine policy within hospitals: the Operational physician (OP), and the Head of the hospital infection and prevention committee (HIPC).[france 1] Mandatory immunization policies on BCG, diphtheria, tetanus, and poliomyelitis began in the 1950s and policies on Hepatitis B began in 1991. Recommended but not mandatory suggestions on influenza, pertussis, varicella, and measles began in 2000, 2004, 2004, and 2005, respectively.[france 1] According to the 2013 INPES Peretti-Watel health barometer, between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of French people between 18–75 years old in favor of vaccination dropped from 90% to 60%.

Since 2009, France has recommended meningococcus C vaccination for infants 1–2 years old, with a catch up dosage up to 25 years later. French insurance companies have reimbursed this vaccine since January 2010, at which point coverage levels were 32.3% for children 1–2 years and 21.3% for teenagers 14–16 years old.[116] In 2012, the French government and the Institut de veille sanitaire launched a 5-year national program to improve vaccination policy. The program simplified guidelines, facilitated access to vaccination, and invested in vaccine research.[117] In 2014, fueled by rare health-related scandals, mistrust of vaccines became a common topic in the French public debate on health.[118] According to a French radio station, as of 2014, three to five percent of kids in France were not given the mandatory vaccines.[118] Some families may avoid requirements by finding a doctor willing to forge a vaccination certificate, a solution which numerous French forums confirm. However, the French State considers "vaccine refusal" a form of child abuse.[118] In some instances, parental vaccine refusals may result in criminal trials. France's 2010 creation of the Question Prioritaire Constitutionelle (QPC) allows lower courts to refer constitutional questions to the highest court in the relevant hierarchy.[france 2] Therefore, criminal trials based on vaccine refusals may be referred to the Cour de Cassation, which will then certify whether the case meets certain criteria.[france 2]

In May 2015, France updated its vaccination policies on diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae b infections, and hepatitis B for premature infants. As of 2015, while failure to vaccinate is not necessarily illegal, a parent's right to refuse to vaccinate his or her child is technically a constitutional matter. Additionally, children in France cannot enter schools without proof of vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio.[119] French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, finds vaccinations "absolutely fundamental to avoid disease", and has pushed to have trained pharmacists and doctors administer vaccinations.[119] Most recently, the Prime Minister's 2015–2017 roadmap for the "multi-annual social inclusion and anti-poverty plan" includes free vaccinations in certain public facilities.[120] Vaccinations within the immunization schedule are given for free at immunization services within the public sector. When given in private medical practices, vaccinations are 65% reimbursed.


Vaccine schedule
Vaccination Schedule for Germany
Infection Weeks Months Years
6 2 3 4 11 12 14 15 23 2 56 9 14 15 17 1845 59 >60
Rotavirus RV RV RV
Diphtheria D D D D D d d d d
Pertussis acP acP acP acP acP acP acp acp acp
Haemophilus influenzae Hib Hib Hib Hib Hib Hib
Hepatitis B HepB HepB HepB HepB HepB HepB
Pneumococcus PCV PCV PCV PCV PCV Pnc# PPSV23
Meningococcus MenC MenC
Varicella VAR VAR VAR
Human papillomavirus HPV HPV
Influenza TIV
Tick-borne Encephalitis TBE#
   General Recommendation   # Recommended for specific groups only.    Catch-up

In Germany, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) is the federal commission responsible for recommending an immunization schedule. The Robert Koch Institute in Berlin (RKI) compiles data of immunization status upon the entry of children at school, and measures vaccine coverage of Germany at a national level.[121] Founded in 1972, the STIKO is composed of 12–18 volunteers, appointed members by the Federal Ministry for Health for 3-year terms.[122] Members include experts from many scientific disciplines and public health fields and professionals with extensive experience on vaccination.[123] The independent advisory group meets biannually to address issues pertaining to preventable infectious diseases.[124] Although the STIKO makes recommendations, immunization in Germany is voluntary and there are no official government recommendations. German Federal States typically follow the Standing Vaccination Committee's recommendations minimally, although each state can make recommendations for their geographic jurisdiction that extends beyond the recommended list.[121] In addition to the proposed immunization schedule for children and adults, the STIKO recommends vaccinations for occupational groups, police, travelers, and other at risk groups.[121]

Vaccinations recommendations that are issued must be in accordance with the Protection Against Infection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz), which regulates the prevention of infectious diseases in humans.[125] If a vaccination is recommended because of occupational risks, it must adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Act involving Biological Agents.[126] Criteria for the recommendation include disease burden, efficacy and effectiveness, safety, feasibility of program implementation, cost-effectiveness evaluation, clinical trial results, and equity in access to the vaccine.[123] In the event of vaccination related injuries, federal states are responsible for monetary compensation.[126] Germany's central government does not finance childhood immunizations, so 90% of vaccines are administered in a private physician's office and paid for through insurance. The other 10% of vaccines are provided by the states in public health clinics, schools, or day care centers by local immunization programs.[121] Physician responsibilities concerning immunization include beginning infancy vaccination, administering booster vaccinations, maintaining medical and vaccination history, and giving information and recommendations concerning vaccines.[126]

Children aged 15 and over can legally consent to being vaccinated, even if their parents expressly object, provided the child gives the impression of being mature, informed, and capable of understanding the risks and benefits of their decision.[127][128]


Vaccine schedule
IAP Immunization Timetable: 2016[69]
Infection Birth Months Years
1.5 2.5 3.5 6 9 9-12 12 15 16-18 18 2 4-6 10-12
Tuberculosis BCG
Hepatitis B HepBHepBHepB
Rotavirus RVRVRV
Diphtheria DTwPDTwPDTwPDTwPDTwPTdap
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Typhoid TCVTCV
Hepatitis A HepAHepA
Varicella VVVV
Human papillomavirus HPV (girls)


In the Republic of Ireland, childhood vaccination (up to age 16) requires the consent of the parents. The Department of Health strongly recommend vaccinations.[129]


Vaccine schedule
Vaccination Schedule for Italy
Infection Birth Months Years
3 56 11 13 15 56 1118 65+
Diphtheria D D D D d
Tetanus TT TT TT TT TT
Pertussis acP acP acP acP acp
Haemophilus influenzae Hib Hib Hib
Hepatitis B HepB# HepB HepB HepB
Pneumococcus PCV PCV PCV
Meningococcus MenC MenC
Varicella VAR
Human papillomavirus HPV
Influenza TIV
   General Recommendation   # Recommended for specific groups only.    Catch-up

As aging populations in Italy bring a rising burden of age-related disease, the Italian vaccination system remains complex.[130] The fact that services and decisions are delivered by 21 separate regional authorities creates many variations in Italian vaccine policy.[130] There is a National committee on immunizations that updates the national recommended immunization schedule, with input from the ministry of health representatives, regional health authorities, national institute of health, and other scientific societies.[131] Regions may add more scheduled vaccinations, but cannot exempt citizens from nationally mandated or recommended ones.[131] For instance, a nationwide plan for eliminating measles and rubella began in 2001.[131] Certain vaccinations in Italy are based on findings from the National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion are also used to determine miscellaneous vaccination mandates.

Childhood vaccinations included in national schedules are guaranteed free of charge for all Italian children and foreign children who live in the country.[131] Estimated insurance coverage for the required three doses of HBV-Hib-IPV vaccines is at least 95% when the child is two years old. Later, Influenza is the only nationally necessary vaccine for adults, and is administered by general practitioners.[131] To mitigate some public concerns, Italy currently has a national vaccine injury compensation program. Essentially, those who are ill or damaged by mandatory and recommended vaccinations may receive funding from the government as compensation. One evaluation of vaccine coverage in 2010, which covered the 2008 birth cohort, showed a slight decline in immunization insurance coverage rates of diphtheria, hepatitis B, polio, and tetanus after those specific vaccinations had been made mandatory.[132] However, vaccination levels continued to pass the Italian government's goal of 95% outreach.[132]

Aiming to integrate immunization strategies across the country and equitize access to disease prevention, the Italian Ministry of Health issued the National Immunization Prevention Plan (Piano Nazionale Prevenzione Vaccinale) in 2012. This plan for 2012–2014 introduced an institutional "lifecourse" approach to vaccination to complement the Italian health policy agenda.[133] HPV vaccine coverage increased well, and pneumococcal vaccine and meningococcal C vaccines faced positive public reception. However, both infant vaccine coverage rates and influenza immunization in the elderly have been decreasing.[133] A 2015 government plan in Italy aimed to boost vaccination rates and introduce a series of new vaccines, triggering protests among public health professionals.[134] Partially in response to the statistic that less than 86% of Italian children receive the measles shot, the National Vaccination Plan for 2016–18 (PNPV) increased vaccination requirements.[134] For instance, nationwide varicella shots would be required for newborns.[134] Under this plan, government spending on vaccines would double to €620 million annually, and children could be barred from attending school without proving vaccination.[134] Although these implementations would make Italy a European frontrunner in vaccination, some experts questioned the need for several of the vaccines, and some physicians worried about the potential punishment they may face if they do not comply with the proposed regulations.[134]

There were 5,000 cases of measles in 2017, up from 870 in 2016, 29% of all those in the European Union. The law compelling children to have ten vaccinations to enroll at state schools came into effect in March 2018 but in August 2018 the Five Star Movement pushed legislation through the Italian Senate abolishing it. It did not pass the Chamber of Deputies but parents did not have to provide schools with a doctor's note to show their children have been vaccinated.[135] By November 2018 the government had changed its stance because of the "measles emergency" and decided to uphold the obligation for children up to the age of 16, teachers and health professionals to be vaccinated. A midwife working at a hospital in central Italy was sacked for refusing vaccination.[136]


Vaccine schedule
Japan Vaccine Schedule: January 2020[78][79]
Infection Act/
Birth Months Years
2 3 6 12 24 36 60 ≧5[lower-alpha 1] 7>[lower-alpha 1] 7.5
(90 mo)
9 11 12[lower-alpha 2] 13> 16[lower-alpha 2] 60-64[lower-alpha 3]
& 65+
Diphtheria Act (A)DTaP-IPVDT
Tetanus Act (A)
Pertussis Act (A)
Polio Act (A)
Measles Act (A)MR (1st)MR (2nd)
Rubella Act (A)
Japanese encephalitis Act (A)Japanese encephalitis (1st)Japanese encephalitis (2nd)
Tuberculosis Act (A)BCG
Haemophilus influenzae Act (A)Hib
Pneumococcus Act (A)Pneumococcal
Order (B)Pneumococcal
Human papillomavirus Act (A)HPV vaccine
Smallpox Order (A)Not specified by the act or the order
Varicella Order (A)Varicella
Hepatitis B Order (A)Hep B
Influenza Order (B)Flu
  1. Vaccines for measles and rubella (MR vaccine) can be received anytime from 5 y/o before 7 y/o, AND the time should be also between one year and one day before the first day of schooling (quote: "五歳以上七歳未満の者であって、小学校就学の始期に達する日の一年前の日から当該始期に達する日の前日までの間にあるもの".
  2. HPV for female students only. Vaccination can be started from the first day of school year within she turns 12, and until the last day of school year within she turns 16 (quote: "十二歳となる日の属する年度の初日から十六歳となる日の属する年度の末日までの間にある女子").
  3. Age 60-64 with certain diseases: heart, kidney or respitory failures, or with an immune-related disorder due to HIV infection.

Only in the legal term in Japan, citizens get old one day before their birthdays. If a person was born on January 1, 2020 and Immunization Act specifies vaccine against measles could be received from age 12 months to 24 months, vaccination shall be practiced between December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2021 (not between January 2021 and January 2022.)[137][138] Some vaccinations are scheduled in line with the school year system, which starts from April 1 in Japan.[139] As explained, those who born on April 1 and on April 2 get old legally on March 31 and April 1, respectively. Thus, these two people are in different school years and thereby they may take vaccines in different calendar years.

Legal age counting system in Japan[137][138][139]
Recipients Birth Months Years
2 3 6 12 24 36 60 ≧5[lower-alpha 1] 7>[lower-alpha 1] 7.5
(90 mo)
9 11 12[lower-alpha 2] 13> 16[lower-alpha 2]
Person A[lower-alpha 3] Dec 31, 2019Feb 29, 2020[lower-alpha 4]Mar 30, 2020Jun 30, 2020Dec 30, 2020Dec 30, 2021Dec 30, 2022Dec 30, 2024Apr 1, 2025Mar 31, 2026Jun 30, 2027Dec 30, 2028Dec 30, 2030Apr 1, 2031Dec 29, 2032Mar 31, 2036
Person B[lower-alpha 3] Jan 1, 2020Feb 29, 2020[lower-alpha 4]Mar 31, 2020Jun 30, 2020Dec 31, 2020Dec 31, 2021Dec 31, 2022Dec 31, 2024Apr 1, 2025Mar 31, 2026Jun 30, 2027Dec 31, 2028Dec 31, 2030Apr 1, 2031Dec 30, 2032Mar 31, 2036
Person C[lower-alpha 3] Apr 1, 2020May 31, 2020Jun 31, 2020Sep 30, 2020Mar 31, 2021Mar 31, 2022Mar 31, 2023Mar 31, 2025Apr 1, 2025Mar 31, 2026Sep 30, 2027Mar 31, 2029Mar 31, 2031Apr 1, 2031Mar 30, 2033Mar 31, 2036
Person D[lower-alpha 5] Apr 2, 2020Jun 1, 2020Jul 1, 2020Oct 1, 2020Apr 1, 2021Apr 1, 2022Apr 1, 2023Apr 1, 2025Apr 1, 2026Mar 31, 2027Oct 1, 2027Apr 1, 2029Apr 1, 2031Apr 1, 2032Mar 31, 2033Mar 31, 2037
  1. Vaccines for measles and rubella (MR vaccine) can be received anytime from 5 y/o before 7 y/o, AND the time should be also between one year and one day before the first day of schooling (quote: "五歳以上七歳未満の者であって、小学校就学の始期に達する日の一年前の日から当該始期に達する日の前日までの間にあるもの".
  2. HPV for female students only. Vaccination can be started from the first day of school year within she turns 12, and until the last day of school year within she turns 16 (quote: "十二歳となる日の属する年度の初日から十六歳となる日の属する年度の末日までの間にある女子").
  3. Starts elementary schooling from April 1, 2026
  4. 2020 is a leap year. Person B socially turns 2 months old on March 1, 2004. In the legal term, however, Person B's 2-month birthday is the day before March 1, 2004. Thus, It shall be February 29, 2004. There are no February 30 or 31 in 2020. As a result Person A and Person B have the same 2-month birthday.
  5. Starts elementary schooling from April 1, 2027

In Japan, there are three types of vaccination practices: Routine (scheduled); Temporary (ad-hoc); and Non-legal.[78][79][80] Infections of the first two types are defined by Immunization Act (Japanese: 予防接種法) and its related cabinet order (Japanese: 予防接種法施行令). As of January 2020, sixteen infections in total are on the legal lists  fourteen are Category A diseases (vaccination is not mandatory but recommended to prevent pandemic), and two are Category B (not even recommended and only for a personal care purpose).[78][79]

Compared to the global standard, Japanese vaccination policy is sometimes described by medical experts as the "Vaccine Gap".[140][141] For instance, Japan is the only developed country that does not list mumps on the vaccine schedule.[140] Another fact is that the government approval for new combination vaccines usually takes longer time than the United States does.[140]

One reason behind the vaccine gap is that the government was sued several times for negligence of duty of care and for malpractice liabilities throughout the vaccination history.[141][142][143] The lawsuit risks, particularly the 1992 Tokyo High Court's ruling on the MMR vaccine class action, impacted on law amendment.[140] Vaccination is no longer mandatory as of 1994.[81][140] As a result, vaccination rate declined in Japan. The rate of flu vaccination, for example, was 67.9% among schoolchildren in 1979 but dropped down to approximately 20% in 1998-1999. With the rapidly aging society issue, the decline among schoolchildren hit the elderly generation. In 1998–1999 season, deadly flu outbreak spread widely in nursing homes for the elderly as well as inpatients wards. The outbreak was followed by the 2001 amendment of Immunization Act to add flu vaccination for the elderly.[141] As of February 2020, flu vaccination under the Act is in Category B (for a personal care purpose) only for the elderly.[78] However, historical data sets suggest that flu vaccination for schoolchildren is also the key to take care of the elderly.[144]

In addition to legal and social risk concerns, an issue of decision-making process underlies the vaccine gap. Unlike the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in the United States, a centralized permanent advisory committee for vaccination policy was not organized in Japan until 2009, the time when a deadly flu outbreak struck Japan. Since the committee kick-off, however, the vaccine gap has been gradually improved.[145][141]


According to a 2011 publication in CMAJ:[146] The notion of "mandatory" in Latvia differs from that of other nations. Latvia appears unique in that it compels health care providers to obtain the signatures of those who decline vaccination. Individuals have the right to refuse a vaccination, but if they do so, health providers have a duty to explain the health consequences.

Vaccines that are not mandatory are not publicly funded, so the cost for those must be borne by parents or employers, she adds. Funded vaccinations include tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, hepatitis B, human papilloma virus for 12-year-old girls, and tick-borne encephalitis until age 18 in endemic areas and for orphans.


In Malaysia, mass vaccination is practised in public schools. The vaccines may be administered by a school nurse or a team of other medical staff from outside the school. All the children in a given school year are vaccinated as a cohort. For example, children may receive the oral polio vaccine in Year One of primary school (about six or seven years of age), the BCG in Year Six, and the MMR in Form Three of secondary school. Therefore, most people have received their core vaccines by the time they finish secondary school.[147]

New Zealand

Vaccine schedule
New Zealand Immunization Schedule: 1 October 2020[148]
Infection Gestation Weeks Months Years
6 3 5 12 15 4 1112 45 65+
Rotavirus RV RV
Diphtheria Tdap DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-HepB-IPV-Hib DTaP-IPV Tdap Tdap Tdap
Hepatitis B
Haemophilus influenzae Hib
Pneumococcus PCV10 PCV10 PCV10
Measles MMR MMR
Varicella VV VV[lower-alpha 1]
Human papillomavirus HPV9
Herpes Zoster HZ
Influenza IIV IIV (yearly)
  1. Only if the person has not previously received the varicella vaccine or had a varicella infection


Vaccine schedule
Nigerian National Vaccination Schedule:[149]
Infection Birth Months Years
2 3 4 6 9 18 4 5
Tuberculosis BCG
Hepatitis B HepB5V5V5V
Diphtheria DTP
Haemophilus influenzae
Meningococcus MCVMCV
Yellow fever YF

In Nigeria, the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), was introduced in 1978 to provide free immunization against polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, and yellow fever to Nigerian children less than two years old. This free immunization can be obtained at any primary health centre in the country. The vaccines are usually administered by a government health care worker. They also conduct routine vaccination visits in schools where all the children in a given school are vaccinated.[5]


Facing numerous minor polio epidemics, the Pakistani government has now ruled that the polio vaccination as mandatory and indisputable. In a statement from Pakistani Police Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud "There is no mercy, we have decided to deal with the refusal cases with iron hands. Anyone who refuses [the vaccine] will be sent to jail."


Immunization is voluntary in Russia as of 2019.[150] In May 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that mandating coronavirus vaccinations would be "impractical and impossible".[151]


In the wake of a declared measles epidemic, Samoan authorities made vaccination against measles compulsory in November 2019.[152]


According to a 2011 publication in CMAJ:[146] Slovenia has one of the world's most aggressive and comprehensive vaccination programs. Its program is mandatory for nine designated diseases. Within the first three months of life, infants must be vaccinated for tuberculosis, tetanus, polio, pertussis, and Haemophilus influenza type B. Within 18 months, vaccines are required for measles, mumps and rubella, and finally, before a child starts school, the child must be vaccinated for hepatitis B. While a medical exemption request can be submitted to a committee, such an application for reasons of religion or conscience would not be acceptable. Failure to comply results in a fine and compliance rates top 95%, Kraigher says, adding that for nonmandatory vaccines, such as the one for human papilloma virus, coverage is below 50%.

Mandatory vaccination against measles was introduced in 1968 and since 1978, all children receive two doses of vaccine with a compliance rate of more than 95%.[153] For TBE, the vaccination rate in 2007 was estimated to be 12.4% of the general population in 2007. For comparison, in neighboring Austria, 87% of the population is vaccinated against TBE.[154]

South Africa

In South Africa vaccination is voluntary.[85]

The South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre began in 2003 as an alliance between the South African Department of Health, vaccine industry, academic institutions and other stakeholders.[155] SAIVC works with the WHO and the South African National Department of Health to educate, do research, provide technical support, and advocate. They work to increase rates of vaccination to improve the nation's health.


Vaccine schedule
Vaccination Schedule for Spain
Infection Birth Months Years
2 4 6 12 18 34 6 12 14 65+
Diphtheria D D D D d d d
Pertussis acP acP acP acP acp
Haemophilus influenzae Hib Hib Hib Hib
Hepatitis B HepB HepB HepB
Pneumococcus PCV PCV PCV PPSV23
Meningococcus MenC MenC MenC
Varicella VAR
Human papillomavirus HPV
Influenza TIV
   General Recommendation   # Recommended for specific groups only.    Catch-up

Spain's 19 autonomous communities, consisting of 17 Regions and two cities, follow health policies established by the Inter-Territorial Health Council that was formed by the National and Regional Ministries of Health.[156] This Inter-Territorial Council is composed of representatives from each region and meets to discuss health related issues spanning across Spain. The Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIIII) is a public research institute that manages biomedical research for the advancement of health sciences and disease preventions.[157] The ISCIII may suggest the introduction of new vaccines into Spain's Recommended Health Schedule and is under direct control of the Ministry of Health. Although the Ministry of Health is responsible for the oversight of health care services, the policy of devolution divides responsibilities among local agencies, including health planning and programing, fiscal duties, and direct management of health services. This decentralization proposes difficulties in collecting information at the national level.[123] The Inter-Territorial Council's Commission on Public Health works to establish health care policies according to recommendations by technical working groups via letters, meetings, and conferences. The Technical Working Group on Vaccines review data on vaccine preventable diseases and proposes recommendations for policies.[123] No additional groups outside the government propose recommendations. Recommendations must be approved by the Commission of Public Health and then by the Inter-Territorial Council, at which point they are incorporated into the National Immunization Schedule.[156]

The Spanish Association of Pediatrics, in conjunction with the Spanish Medicines Agency, outlines specifications for vaccination schedules and policies and provides a history of vaccination policies implemented in the past, as well as legislature pertaining to the public currently. Spain's Constitution does not mandate vaccination, so it is voluntary unless authorities require compulsory vaccination in the case of epidemics.[158] In 1921 vaccination became mandatory for smallpox, and in 1944 the Bases Health Act mandated compulsory vaccination for diphtheria and smallpox, but was suspended in 1979 after the elimination of the threat of an epidemic.[158] The first systematic immunization schedule for the provinces of Spain was established in 1975 and has continuously been updated by each autonomous community in regard to doses at certain ages and recommendation of additional vaccine not proposed in the schedule.[158]

The 2015 schedule proposed the newest change with the inclusion of pneumococcal vaccine for children under 12 months. For 2016, the schedule plans to propose a vaccine against varicella in children at 12–15 months and 3–4 years. Furthermore, the General Health Law of 1986 echoes Article 40.2 from the Constitution guaranteeing the right to the protection of health, and states employers must provide vaccines to workers if they are at risk of exposure.[159] Due to vaccination coverage in each Community, there is little anti-vaccine activity or opposition to the current schedule, and no organized groups against vaccines.[156] The universal public health care provides coverage for all residents, while central and regional support programs extend coverage to immigrant populations. However, no national funds are granted to the Communities for vaccine purchases. Vaccines are financed from taxes, and paid in full by the Community government.[156] Law 21 in Article 2.6 establishes the need for proper clinical documentation and informed consent by the patient, although written informed consent is not mandated in the verbal request of a vaccine for a minor.[160] The autonomous regions collect data, from either electronic registries or written physician charts, to calculate immunization coverage.[156]


According to the World Health Organization vaccination coverage in Tanzania was more than 90% in 2012.[161] An Electronic Immunisation Register has been established, which permits online access to the medical records of mothers and infants, enabling vaccination teams in remote areas to operate more effectively, especially with nomadic people. It also helps to coordinate stock levels and order new supplies.[162]

United Kingdom

Vaccine schedule
United Kingdom Vaccine Schedule: 2020[163]
Infection Months Years
2 3 4 12 2-10 3-4 12-13 13-15 16–18
Diphtheria DTaPDTaPDTaP DTaPTd
Haemophilus influenzae HIBHIBHIBHIB
Meningococcus MenBMenBMenB/C MenACWY
Rotavirus RVRV
Pneumococcus PCVPCV
Hepatitis B HepB HepB HepB
Measles MMR MMR
Influenza LAIV

    In the United Kingdom, the purchase and distribution of vaccines is managed centrally, and recommended vaccines are provided for free by the NHS.[164] In the UK, no laws require vaccination of schoolchildren.[164]

    Children aged 16 and 17 can consent to immunizations without parental consent.[165] Under the Gillick test, children under 16 can consent to vaccination over parental objections if they demonstrate a mature understanding of the ramifications of the procedure.[166]

    United States

    Vaccine schedule
    Vaccine Schedule for the United States: 2020[167][168]
    Infection Birth Months Years
    1 2 4 6 9 12 15 18 1923 23 46 710 1112 1315 16 1718 1926 2749 5064 65+
    Hepatitis B HepB HepB HepB HepB HepB HepB x23#
    Rotavirus RV RV RV
    Diphtheria DTaP DTaP DTaP DTaP DTaP DTaP DTaP Tdap Tdap Tdap Td or Tdap (every 10 years)
    Haemophilus influenzae Hib Hib Hib Hib Hib Hib Hib# Hib x13#
    Pneumococcus PCV13 PCV13 PCV13 PCV13 PCV13 PCV13 PCV13# PCV13# PCV13§
    PPSV23# PPSV23 x12# PPSV23
    Influenza IIV (yearly) IIV or LAIV (yearly)
    Measles MMR# MMR MMR MMR MMR MMR x12
    Varicella VAR VAR VAR VAR VAR x12 VAR 2x#
    Hepatitis A HepA# HepA x2 HepA HepA x23#
    Meningococcus MenACWY# MenACWY MenACWY MenACWY MenACWY MenACWY x12#
    MenB x23#
    Human papillomavirus HPV# HPV x23 HPV HPV HPV§
    Herpes Zoster RZV or ZVL
    •    Range of recommended ages for everyone. See references for more details.
    •   # Range of recommended ages for certain high-risk groups. See references for more details.
    •    Range of recommended ages for catch-up immunization or for people who lack evidence of immunity (e.g., lack documentation of vaccination or have no evidence of prior infection).[lower-alpha 1]
    •   § Recommended vaccination based on sharedclinical decision-making.
    1. CDC provides more detailed information in catch-up immunizations.

    In the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes scientific recommendations regarding vaccines and vaccination schedules[169] that the federal government, state governments, and private health insurance companies generally follow.[170] See Vaccination schedule for the schedule recommended in the United States.

    All fifty states in the U.S. mandate immunizations for children to enroll in public school, but various exemptions are available depending on the state. All states have exemptions for people who have medical contraindications to vaccines, and all states except for California, Maine, Mississippi, New York, and West Virginia allow religious exemptions,[171] while sixteen states allow parents to cite personal, conscientious, philosophical, or other objections.[172]

    An increasing number of parents are using religious and philosophical exemptions: researchers have cited this increased use of exemptions as contributing to loss of herd immunity within these communities, and hence an increasing number of disease outbreaks.[173][174][175]

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises physicians to respect the refusal of parents to vaccinate their child after adequate discussion, unless the child is put at significant risk of harm (e.g., during an epidemic, or after a deep and contaminated puncture wound). Under such circumstances, the AAP states that parental refusal of immunization constitutes a form of medical neglect and should be reported to state child protective services agencies.[176] Several states allow minors to legally consent to vaccination over parental objections under the mature minor doctrine.

    Immunizations are compulsory for military enlistment in the U.S.[177][178]

    All vaccines recommended by the U.S. government for its citizens are required for green card applicants.[179] This requirement stirred controversy when it was applied to the HPV vaccine in July 2008 due to the cost of the vaccine. In addition, the other thirteen required vaccines prevent highly contagious diseases communicable through the respiratory route, while HPV is spread only through sexual contact.[180] In November 2009, this requirement was canceled.[181]

    Though the federal guidelines do not require written consent to receive a vaccination, they do require doctors give the recipients or legal representatives a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). Specific informed consent laws are made by the states.[24][182]


    The United States has a long history of school vaccination requirements. The first school vaccination requirement was enacted in the 1850s in Massachusetts to prevent the spread of smallpox.[183] The school vaccination requirement was put in place after the compulsory school attendance law caused a rapid increase in the number of children in public schools, increasing the risk of smallpox outbreaks. The early movement towards school vaccination laws began at the local level including counties, cities, and boards of education. By 1827, Boston had become the first city to mandate that all children entering public schools show proof of vaccination.[184] In addition, in 1855 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had established its own statewide vaccination requirements for all students entering school, this influenced other states to implement similar statewide vaccination laws in schools as seen in New York in 1862, Connecticut in 1872, Pennsylvania in 1895, and later the Midwest, South and Western US. By 1963, twenty states had school vaccination laws.[184]

    These vaccination laws resulted in political debates throughout the United States as those opposed to vaccination sought to repeal local policies and state laws.[185] An example of this political controversy occurred in 1893 in Chicago, where less than ten percent of the children were vaccinated despite the twelve-year-old state law.[184] Resistance was seen at the local level of the school district as some local school boards and superintendents opposed the state vaccination laws, leading the state board health inspectors to examine vaccination policies in schools. Resistance proceeded during the mid-1900s and in 1977 a nationwide Childhood Immunization Initiative was developed with the goal of increasing vaccination rates among children to ninety percent by 1979. During the two-year period of observation, the initiative reviewed the immunization records of more than 28 million children and vaccinated children who had not received the recommended vaccines.[186]

    In 1922, the constitutionality of childhood vaccination was examined in the Supreme Court case Zucht v. King. The court decided that a school could deny admission to children who failed to provide a certification of vaccination for the protection of the public health.[186] In 1987, there was a measles epidemic in Maricopa County, Arizona, and Maricopa County Health Department vs. Harmon examined the arguments of an individual's right to education over the state's need to protect against the spread of disease. The court decided that it is prudent to take action to combat the spread of disease by denying un-vaccinated children a place in school until the risk for the spread of measles had passed.[186]

    Schools in the United States require an updated immunization record for all incoming and returning students. While all states require an immunization record, this does not mean all students must get vaccinated. Exemptions are determined at a state level. In the United States, exemptions take one of three forms: medical, in which a vaccine is contraindicated due to a component ingredient allergy or existing medical condition; religious; and personal philosophical opposition. As of 2019, 45 states allow religious exemptions, with some states requiring proof of religious membership. Until 2019, only Mississippi, West Virginia and California did not permit religious exemptions.[187] However, the 2019 measles outbreak led to the repeal of religious exemptions in the state of New York and for the MMR vaccination in the state of Washington. Prior to 2019, 18 states allowed personal or philosophical opposition to vaccination, but the measles outbreak also led to the repeal of these exemptions in a number of states.[172] Research studies have found a correlation between the rise of vaccine-preventable diseases and non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements.[188][189]

    Mandatory vaccinations for attending public schools have received criticism. Parents say that vaccine mandates to attend public schools prevent one's right to choose, especially if the vaccinations could be harmful.[190] Some people believe being forced to get a vaccination could cause trauma, and may lead to not seeking out medical care/attention ever again.[191] In the constitutional law, some states have the liberty to withdraw to public health regulations, which includes mandatory vaccination laws that threaten fines. Certain laws are being looked at for immunization requirements, and are trying to be changed, but cannot succeed due to legal challenges.[192] After California removed non-medical exemptions for school entrance, lawsuits were filed arguing for the right for children to attend school regardless of their vaccination history, and to suspend the bill's implementation altogether.[192] However, all such lawsuits ultimately failed.[193]

    See also

    • World Immunization Week
    • Vaccination requirements for international travel


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