What is a vaccine?

A man coughing into his hand with germs in the air behind him.

A vaccine is medicine that helps your body to fight an infection in the future.

A man showing he is strong by showing the muscles in his arms.

A vaccine works by teaching your body’s immune system how to fight the infection.

A man blowing his nose with a tissue.

Your immune system is how your body fights off infections, like a cold or the flu.

A man smiling with germs around him.

Your immune system learns how to fight the infection without you getting very poorly.

A nurse sitting down giving a man, who is also sitting down and holding a tablet, an injection

Vaccines can help to keep you and others safe and help stop you getting very unwell from illnesses.

Two people with one of their hands raised standing between a bottle of the Covid vaccine

People on the learning disability register can get a free flu vaccine and can get the coronavirus vaccine and booster before many other people.

A woman making a decision

You do not have to have a vaccine because you are on the GP learning disability register, but you get the choice.

an information sign

If you are not sure about having a vaccine, people can support you to get more information.

A woman thinking.  In the thought bubble are a green tick and a red cross.

If you are not able to make the decision for yourself, other people will help you to decide if you should have the vaccine

A lady with a group of 5 people behind her.

This might be staff that support you, a doctor or family member.

A woman standing with her arm around an older lady in a wheelchair

If you are a family carer, you can also get a free flu vaccine and can get the coronavirus vaccine and booster.

How do I know if a vaccine is safe?

A nurse wearing a facemask and an apron is holding a needle ready to give an injection.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) makes sure that vaccines work well and are safe to use.

A man with his thumb up.

All vaccines in the UK have been checked by the MHRA which means that they are as safe as possible to use.

Are there any side effects?

A woman in pain with her hand on her head.

All medicines can have side effects. 

A lady with a hand on her stomach and the other hand on her head.

You might feel poorly after having a vaccine.

an easy read leaflet

You will be given information about the vaccine you have had, how to look for side effects and what to do if they happen.

What should I do if I have allergies?

A hand scratching the back of another hand.

It is important that you tell the person doing the vaccination if you have any allergies before you have your vaccination.

Three bottles of the covid vaccine beside an 'i' for information button

For more information about vaccines go to:

Vaccine reasonable adjustments page

or the flu jab page 

For more information or help:

A nurse in uniform

Speak to your local learning disability team or learning disability nurse if you have one.

A seated man who is talking to another man who is in a wheelchair

Speak to an organisation in your community that you trust.

A man talking on a mobile phone

Call the Mencap Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111.