Guidance

Immunisation: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

For information about COVID-19 vaccination including translated resources, visit the COVID-19 page of the migrant health guide.

Provide new migrants with the migrant immunisation information leaflet.

Always ask new migrants about their vaccine history.

Assume that patients aren’t immunised, unless they can give a reliable history of vaccination.

Be advised that individuals who arrive in the UK part way through their immunisation schedule should be transferred onto the UK schedule and immunised as appropriate for their age.

If a course of immunisation has been started but not completed, continue from where it was interrupted: there is no need to repeat doses or restart the course.

See the PHE immunisation algorithm for advice on immunising individuals with uncertain or incomplete immunisation status.

If in doubt, contact your local Screening and Immunisation Team for further advice.

Vaccinations animation

Keeping up to date with vaccinations for migrants

This keeping up to date with vaccinations for migrants animation explains the entitlements to vaccination for migrants in England and how to support migrants to access vaccinations.

The migrant immunisation information leaflet can be provided to anyone who has moved to the UK. It advises migrants on the need to register with a GP to get up to date with their routine vaccinations.

Further advice

The World Health Organization’s ‘vaccine-preventable diseases monitoring system’ has information on immunisation schedules by region, country and vaccine and global immunisation schedules and estimated coverage levels by country.

If you are updating a patient’s immunisations, give as many vaccines as possible at each visit, just in case the patient does not return for subsequent appointments.

Consider asking any other family members who have accompanied the patient about their vaccination histories, and update them during the same visit if possible.

Ask opportunistically about future travel plans to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and arrange for provision of appropriate travel advice as necessary.

Resources

Public Health England has further advice and information for health professionals and immunisation practitioners on:

The ‘Immunisation: why our children must be protected’ DVD is available in Bengali, British sign language, Chinese, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Somali, Urdu, and with English subtitles.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 28 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added new animated video explaining the entitlements to vaccination for migrants in England.

  2. Added link to COVID-19: migrant health guide.

  3. Added new link to migrant immunisation information leaflet.

  4. Updated and made editorial changes to meet GOV.UK style.

  5. First published.