Vaccination and immunisation programmes over the past 60 years have transformed public health – and not just in the developed world. Modern, advanced research and increased understanding of the sub-cellular processes means that we are already able to foresee a wave of new vaccines that will help prevent complex diseases such as cancers as well as communicable infections.
However, with any health care issue, priorities, ethics and risks come to the fore. As science takes immunisation to a new level, will public caution and Treasury concerns combine to push new these developments aside?
This supplement aims to explore how immunisation fits with the priorities and architecture of the new NHS under the coalition government and how national public health issues, such as vaccination, will sit within an agenda that is based on choice and local devolution. Both challenges and the opportunities face health care professionals and those concerned about the future of public health and the role that vaccines could have in combating the perils of modern life.