Decisions on vaccines in use in different European countries

elderly lady being vaccinated

Individual European countries decide which vaccines should be part of their national vaccination programmes and funded by their national health systems. This is based on local conditions, such as how common the disease is, as well as economic factors.

Most national vaccination programmes in the EU/EEA include vaccines for up to twenty diseases which are given to people at specific ages. In addition, vaccines to protect against specific diseases are sometimes recommended for ‘high-risk’ groups, such as people with long-term health conditions or people planning to travel to other parts of the world.

Some vaccines protect against only one disease, but others protect against more than one. Sometimes, more than one vaccine may be given at once to protect against several infectious diseases. Combined use of vaccines is well established and based on scientific studies on its benefits and safety.

For more information about national vaccination programmes, see the ECDC vaccine scheduler and visit the official websites on immunisation of the EU/EEA countries here.

Benefits of vaccinating

Vaccines prevent diseases that could otherwise cause serious health problems, permanent disability or even death.

Approval of vaccines in the European Union

Before a vaccine can be approved in the EU, it has to undergo rigorous testing by its developer...

Monitoring vaccine safety and reporting side effects

Once a vaccine is approved for use, EU/EEA national authorities and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), continually monitor side effects in people who have received the vaccine.

Vaccine effectiveness

A vaccine's ability to prevent a specific disease determines its effectiveness.

How vaccines work

Each virus and bacterium triggers a unique response in the immune system involving a specific set of cells in the blood...

Page last updated 13 Mar 2020