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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, made up of clinicians and administrators, can answer your questions about any worries you may have.

Dangerous diseases like polio and smallpox have disappeared in the UK because of the immunisation programme. In some countries there are still outbreaks of the diseases. It’s important that your child has the vaccines to protect them from diseases that can be serious. You may not hear much about some of the diseases now and you may not know anyone who has had them. This is because the vaccines work and have really helped to reduce the diseases happening here.

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 6

    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.  

  • You may have heard lots of myths about vaccines. These can make you worry about your child having vaccinations. Here are some facts about them

    • It’s a myth that your child can’t have a vaccine if they have a cough or cold - as long as they don’t have a fever they can have the vaccine
    • It’s a myth that you can use homeopathy instead of vaccines. There isn’t any evidence that homeopathy protects your child from serious diseases, this is what vaccinations are for
    • Sometimes people may think it’s better to get the disease than to have the vaccine that protects against it. The diseases that vaccines protect us from can have very serious complications, which can be avoided by having the vaccine.
  • It’s completely natural that children might feel anxious about having their vaccines; if they don’t know what to expect they might imagine lots of fears that won’t really happen. According to our experienced nurses, you can reassure your child about some of their worries:

    • The injection is not like a blood test, it’s easier and much quicker
    • It feels like a pinch or a cat scratch
    • The needles are not huge - just long enough to get the the right place!
    • It’s much quicker than having a piercing or a tattoo
    • The needle cannot break off in your arm
    • Your arm will not fall off
    • You will not get the disease
    • The vaccine protects you, it doesn’t harm you.

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

    • Your child might be calm and confident about having the vaccine, but there are still some things you can do so they are prepared.
      It helps to talk to your child about why they are having the vaccine. You could explain that it is a few seconds only of discomfort and protects them from diseases that could make them very unwell.
    • If you can, make sure your child wears short sleeves on the day as this makes it much easier and quicker and, your child won’t have to undo or take their shirt off. If not, encourage them to wear a vest under their school shirt.
    • Check your child has breakfast before school as being anxious burns more calories and this can make them have a headache after they’ve had the injection.
    • Talk to your child about not listening to rumours and scary stories to do with having the vaccine. If you have anything that you are or child are about worried about, you can call the school immunisation team.
    • If your child is anxious they could practise deep breathing to help them relax, they can use an app like Headspace or just count to 10 breathing in through their nose and out through their mouth.
    • The nurse will support your child and chat to them about the what they’re doing.
    • Suggest that your child flicks the front of their hand as hard as possible – the sensation and length of time it lasts are similar to having an injection.
    • Your child will be advised to continue with their normal activities and to move their arm regularly after their injection. This will help to avoid the arm feeling stiff.
    • It is very common to experience mild side effects such as redness, pain and swelling at the injection site. Paracetamol can be taken if needed.
    • Parents will receive an email notification after the vaccination, giving information about the vaccine given and specific side effects.
    • If parents have any concerns, they can contact the team below. Out of hours, advice should be sought from 111 or their GP.
  • For children and young people under the age of 16, parents, or adults with Parental Responsibility granted through court, must give consent for vaccination online. Parents/carers will receive the information from school, usually via the school’s email or text system, which will include instructions for giving or declining consent, as well as a closing date.

    For parents who do not have access to the internet or an email address, we will work with you to make sure that your child can still receive their vaccination – please contact us.

    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.

  • Most school immunisations are not available at GPs; only HPV catch-ups and MMR are. If your child or young person is anxious about having their vaccination in school, please contact the service, as alternatives are available, such as receiving the vaccine in the school medical room, or before the main vaccination session, or in a community clinic. Home visits are available in rare circumstances when there is a specific medical need.

    If any of the above school vaccinations have been missed it is possible to catch-them up in our community clinics, or 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.

    You do not need to be referred into the service.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Immunisation Service on 0300 555 5055 and then choose the option for Norfolk. Our opening hours are 8am-4pm, Monday-Friday. Currently you are unable to leave a voicemail message, instead please email: ccs.norfolk.immunisationteam@nhs.net.

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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