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School Age Immunisations

After your child receives their baby and pre-school immunisations at the GPs, the rest of their childhood vaccinations are given in school by the School Age Immunisation Service.

This service is available to all children and young people of school age, whether they attend state school or independent school, complex needs schools or alternative settings.

Children and young people who are educated at home can attend community clinics or their local school to receive the vaccines. Please contact the team on the details at the bottom of the page.

The school immunisation team can answer your questions about any worries you may have.

How vaccines work

When your child has a vaccine they develop antibodies to protect against the disease. After this, if your child comes into contact with the disease, their body will recognise it and know how to fight against it with those antibodies.

  • School Year: Reception to Year 11

    Time of year given: October to January

    This is given by nasal spray which is squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free (a big advantage for children), the nasal spray works even better than the injected flu vaccine with fewer side effects. It’s quick and painless and will mean your child is less likely to become ill if they come into contact with the flu virus.

    Flu can be very unpleasant for children. They have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat lasting up to a week.  Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu such as bronchitis, pneumonia and painful middle ear infection. They may need hospital treatment, and very occasionally a child may die from flu.

    For children with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease or lung disease, getting flu can be very serious as they are more at risk of developing serious complications. You can find out more about it here.

  • School Year: 1st Dose in Year 8, 2nd Dose in Year 9

    Time of year given: January to July

    From September 2019, we're delighted to be able to offer this to boys as well as girls. It helps to protect against cervical, genital and head & neck cancers as well as genital warts.  Although of course boys can’t get cervical cancer, HPV is linked to other cancers that men can get.

    The HPV vaccination programme involves two injections, given between six months and 2 years apart.  It’s important to have both doses to be protected. The team offer catch-ups clinics for girls / young women, so if a dose has been missed or delayed, it can still be given. Any young woman under the age of 18 years can start the programme if they missed it at the appropriate age. If commenced after the age of 15 years, three doses of the vaccine are necessary.

    For information about contraception and sexual health *Click Here*

  • School Year: 9

    Time of year given: January to July

    Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain. One of the most serious and common causes of meningitis is by meningococcal bacteria. As well as meningitis, meningococcal infection can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), both of which can be very serious or fatal.

    Teenagers and young adults are at higher risk of developing meningococcal disease and will be offered the vaccine that protects against four different types of Meningitis A, C, W and Y at the same time as the Teenage Booster, below.

  • School Year: 9

    Time of year given: January to July

    Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are rare now because of vaccination but they are very serious diseases. Your child will have been offered three doses as a baby and one pre-school booster. Sometimes known as the teenage booster, this should be young people’s 5th and final dose to protect them into adulthood.

  • School Year: 10

    Time of year given: September to July

    Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine at one year and with the pre-school booster at 3.5 years. For year 10 students, the School Immunisation Service offers a catch-up in case one or both doses were missed earlier. You can check with your GP if you are unsure if your child has had these. Measles, Mumps and Rubella are very infectious and can develop into very serious conditions.

    There are increasing numbers of measles outbreaks across the UK and the world. *Click Here* to read more.  

  • All young people aged 12 - 15

    The Covid-19 vaccination is safe and effective. 1 dose is being offered to children aged 12 to 15 to give them the best protection against Covid-19.

    This includes children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination.

    Some children are being offered 2 doses of a vaccine if either:

    • they live with someone who is more likely to get infections
    • they have a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19.

    The waiting time between vaccines is 12 weeks.

    For more information about covid vaccinations *Click Here*.

  • In recent years there have been a lot of stories about vaccines in the media and online. Many of these are not based on any facts but have made people worry. It is important that you get information about vaccinations from a trusted source. The Oxford Vaccine Knowledge Project gives independent fact checked information *here*.

    I’m worried the vaccines could be harmful to my child. All the vaccines given are very carefully tested for a long time before they are approved for use on humans and continue to be monitored. Complications are very, very rare whereas the diseases they protect us from are very dangerous.

    Can my child have their vaccine if they have a cough or cold?  Yes - as long as they don’t have a fever they can have the vaccine.

    I’ve heard homeopathy / special diets can be used instead of vaccines is this true? There is no proof that homeopathy / diets can protect your child from serious diseases. We know that vaccinations do.

    Is it better to get the disease and try and get immune that way? This is very risky because the diseases that vaccines protect us from can have very serious complications.

  • It’s completely normal for children and young people to feel a bit worried about having their vaccines. Talking to your child about what is going to happen can help you keep them calm.

    Look together at the information below - that the School Immunisation Team hope knowing this will help your child feel less worried.

    • The needles are not huge - just long enough to get to the right place!
    • The injection is not like a blood test; it is quicker and It feels like a pinch or a cat scratch.
    • The needle cannot break off in your arm and your arm will not fall off!
    • You cannot get the disease from the vaccination.

    Remind your child that vaccines are a very important way of protecting themselves as well as those people who are not able to have vaccinations because of some rare health conditions.

  • Your child might be calm and confident about having the vaccine, but there are still some things you can do so they are prepared.

    • Make sure your child wears short sleeves on the day to make it easier to ‘get at’ the top of their arm. If this is not uniform they could wear a vest under their school shirt.
    • Make sure they have breakfast - being anxious burns more calories and can cause a headache after the injection.
    • Remind your child to ignore rumours and scary stories about vaccines.
    • If you, or your child, have any worries or questions call the school immunisation team.
    • Practise relaxation techniques to help with any anxiety. Young minds have some ideas *here*.

    Remember there will be a nurse to support your child and chat to them about what is happening. They are skilled at helping children cope with their nerves.

    HospiChill is a free app to help young people feel physically and emotionally ready for each of their immunisations - *click Here* for more information.

    If your child is extremely anxious please get in touch with the service. We can talk about how we can help them. Sometimes it helps if;

    • They get the vaccine in the school medical room away from others.
    • They have the vaccine before the main session.
    • They attend a community clinic.

    Home visits are available in rare circumstances when there is a specific medical need.

  • After the injection your child can carry on as normal.

    • They should move their arm regularly after their injection. This helps stop the arm feeling stiff.
    • They might have common mild side effects like redness, pain and swelling at the injection site. Paracetamol can be taken if needed.

    If you think your child is unwell you should contact the GP or 111. If you have any questions about the vaccinations you can contact our team on the number below.

  • Very occasionally a young person under the age of 16 may request a vaccination without parental consent.  In these circumstances a qualified clinician would make a thorough assessment of the young person’s understanding, knowledge and competence to make such a decision. If the decision is made that they have the right level of knowledge and understanding, and they cannot be persuaded to discuss it with their parents, the clinician may go ahead and vaccinate the young person, known as Gillick Competency.

  • If your child misses a vaccination session in their school, or if you are home schooling your children they can still get this important protection from disease. For missed covid-19 vaccinations you can attend your local vaccination centre.

    GPs can offer catch-up for;

    • HPV
    • MMR

    Other vaccinations can be accessed by;

    • Attending a community clinics.
    • Joining another vaccination session in a local school.

    The HPV course can be started for young women up to the day before their 18th birthday. Other high school vaccinations are available up to the age of 19.

Who Can Help?

For questions or queries about school age immunisations you can contact Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust by calling 0300 555 5055 and selecting Option 2 or emailing 

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

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