A Vaccination Schedule is a series of vaccinations, including the timing of all doses, which may be either recommended or compulsory, depending on the country, state or region of residence.

Many vaccines require multiple doses for maximum effectiveness, either to produce sufficient initial immune response or to boost response that fades over time. For example, tetanus vaccine boosters are often recommended every ten years. Vaccine schedules are developed by governmental agencies or physicians groups to achieve maximum effectiveness using required and recommended vaccines for a locality while minimizing the number of healthcare system interactions. In Nigeria, The Federal Ministry of Health under the Federal Programme of Immunization plans the country’s vaccination schedule. Over the past two decades, the recommended vaccination schedule has grown rapidly and become more complicated as many new vaccines have been developed.

Some vaccines are recommended only in certain areas (countries, states, regions or at-risk populations. For instance, yellow fever vaccination is on the routine vaccination schedule of French Guiana; is recommended in certain regions in Brazil but in the United States is only given to travelers heading to countries with a history of the disease. In developing countries, vaccine recommendations also take into account the level of healthcare access, the cost of vaccines and issues with vaccine availability and storage. It is also important to note that additional vaccines are given to individuals that are much likely to come into contact with certain diseases due to their occupation or who travel to countries or regions where the disease is present or after potentially infectious exposure.

The World Health Organization monitors the vaccination schedules across the world, noting what vaccines are included in each country’s vaccination program, the coverage rates achieved and various auditing measures.