The family practitioner plays an important role in preventing disease. An estimated two million people die globally from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Immunisation of children does not only benefit the immunised children, but also their contacts and the community at large. Selective vaccination of adults should be a speciality of every family practitioner. This article discusses the principles of immunisation against hepatitis, mumps, measles, rubella, chickenpox, poliomyelitis, yellow fever and influenza.