The Government bases its vaccination programmes on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert group. The JCVI bases its recommendations on review of a wide range of scientific and other evidence including from the published literature, commissioned studies such as independent analyses of vaccine effectiveness and cost effectiveness, and submissions from vaccine manufacturers. It keeps all vaccination programmes under review and considers new evidence as it emerges.
Since 1 April 2009 the Health Protection (Vaccination) Regulations 2009 place a duty on the Secretary of State for Health in England to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the recommendations of the JCVI are implemented subject to certain criteria. Those criteria are that the recommendations must relate to a new provision or changes to an existing provision under a national vaccination programme, be made by the JCVI (rather than a sub-committee), be in response to a question referred to the JCVI by the Secretary of State, be based on an assessment which demonstrates cost-effectiveness and must not relate to vaccination in respect of travel or occupational health. These Regulations put the NHS Constitution’s right for patients and the public to have access to national National Health Service-provided immunisation programmes, as recommended by JCVI, on a statutory basis.