Berkshire School-Aged Immunisation Team
We offer the flu vaccination to all primary school aged children, and all children regardless of age in special needs schools. In Year 8 and 9, we offer the HPV vaccination to all young people. In Year 9, all young people are offered the DTP (their 5th booster of Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio) and Meningitis ACWY, and we offer the MMR vaccine to anyone who has missed one or more doses.
For young people who are educated at home or elsewhere, please contact us (see Contact Us section) to arrange to have your vaccination in a clinic setting. If your child is particularly anxious, please contact us to discuss how we can work with you and your child to administer vaccines as stress-free as is possible.
The Vaccine Knowledge Project is a reliable and trusted source of information. It is an independent organisation run by academics, providing up to date evidence-based information about vaccines and infectious diseases. It is a useful tool to help parents navigate the complex world of vaccines and helps to support informed decision-making.
We are a team of qualified nurses, healthcare assistants and administration staff.
We work closely with schools to plan and schedule immunisation sessions and arrange for communication to go out to parents regarding consent for vaccinations. We would be grateful if you could ensure that electronic consent forms are completed and submitted as soon as possible after receiving, even if you prefer your child not to be vaccinated.
If your child missed a planned vaccination session when schools were closed, we will reschedule this as soon as we can. GPs may not be commissioned to administer some school aged vaccinations, so please contact the Immunisation team with any queries.
Due to COVID-19, the team would like to reassure you that all precautions are being taken as per the national guidelines. All nursing staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure children are safe from COVID-19 while getting vaccinated.
The children's flu vaccine is offered as a yearly nasal spray to children and young people to help protect them against flu. Your child will be invited to have a flu vaccination at school. If your child does not currently attend school, they will be invited to an alternative local community venue.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children, with potentially serious complications, including bronchitis and pneumonia. Vaccinating your child will help protect them from getting the flu and prevent it spreading among vulnerable family members and friends. With COVID-19 in circulation, it is now more important than ever to protect people from getting ill with flu this winter and to protect the NHS.
HPV is the name given to a very common group of viruses. There are many types of HPV, some of which are called "high risk". The vaccine protects against two of the high-risk strains of HPV 16 and 18 which are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers and around 80% of anal, genital, head and neck cancers. It also protects against HPV types 6 and 11 which are responsible for 90% of genital warts.
All 12- and 13-year-olds in school Year 8 will be offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Your child will be invited to have the vaccination at school. If your child does not currently attend school, they will be invited to an alternative local community venue.
The second dose is normally offered 6 to 24 months after the first (in school Year 8 or Year 9). Two doses are required to achieve an optimal immune response.
MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against 3 serious diseases – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. The full course of MMR vaccination requires 2 doses to achieve an optimal immune response. These vaccinations are normally given before primary school.
Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious conditions that can have serious, potentially fatal complications, including meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness.
Teenagers and MMR
If your child has missed any doses of MMR vaccine when they were younger, they can be given 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccine in school. Your child will be invited to have the vaccination at school. If your child does not currently attend school, they will be invited to an alternative local community venue.
It is especially important for teenagers leaving home for college to be up to date with the MMR vaccine as they are at higher risk of mumps.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Poliomyelitis
Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection that can affect the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin. It's rare in the UK but there's a small risk of catching it while travelling in some parts of the world.
Tetanus is a serious but rare condition caused by bacteria getting into a wound. If the bacteria enter the body through a wound, they can quickly multiply and release a toxin that affects the nerves, causing symptoms such as muscle stiffness and spasms.
The Polio virus attacks the nerves in the spine and base of the brain. This can cause paralysis, usually in the legs, that develops over hours or days. The paralysis isn't usually permanent, and movement will often slowly return over the next few weeks and months.
The teenage booster, also known as the 3-in-1 or the Td/IPV vaccine, is given to boost protection against 3 separate diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and polio. It's a single injection given into the muscle of the upper arm. It's routinely given at secondary school (in school Year 9) at the same time as the Men ACWY vaccine.
Your child will be invited to have the vaccination at school. I your child does not currently attend school, they will be invited to an alternative local community venue.
Meningococcal groups A, C, W-135 and Y
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. Meningitis can be very serious if not treated quickly. It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves. It's a single injection given into the muscle of the upper arm. It's routinely given at secondary school (in school Year 9) at the same time as the DTP vaccine.
Your child will be invited to have the vaccination at school. If your child does not currently attend school, they will be invited to an alternative local community venue.
Please note that whilst parental consent is respected, the decision to participate is legally that of your child, as long as they understand what the procedure involves. This means that if you refuse, the vaccination may still be given if your child wishes to have it. Similarly, if you consent on behalf of your child and they refuse the vaccination, it will not be given.
We are fortunate to have access to a specialist immunisation nurse in Berkshire. If you, your child or a family you are working with is having difficulties accessing immunisation services due to mobility/social and/or environmental factors please email us at SchoolImmunisationTeam@berkshire.nhs.uk 'FAO health inequalities nurse', and someone will be in touch to support you with your query.
What vaccines should my child have had already?
You can see which vaccinations your child should have had by viewing the routine childhood schedule here.
I don’t know what vaccines my child has already had
You can contact the child health information service (CHIS) 0300 561 1851, or contact your GP.
How do I know what vaccines I am consenting to?
The E Consent letter you receive from the school immunisation team team will explain the vaccines being offered. There are links on the letter which will take you to further information about the vaccinations.
What vaccines are usually given at what age?
- The nasal flu vaccination is given to children in the autumn term. In 2020 this was for all children in year R-Year 7 in mainstream school and for older children in special schools.
- The HPV vaccination, protecting against cancers caused by the HPV virus is given to boys and girls in years 8 and 9.
- The teenage booster vaccinations, protecting against Meningococcal strains ACW&Y and the tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster is given to all pupils in year 9.
What happens if my child misses their vaccinations?
The school immunisation team will continue to offer vaccinations to all pupils who miss their vaccinations when they next visit the school, alternatively if they have no further visits planned you will be contacted with a link to book a community clinic appointment.
What if my child is electively home educated?
The team will make contact with you and offer the vaccinations in a community clinic.
Is it safe to have lots of vaccines on the same day?
Yes, it is safe for your child to receive multiple vaccines on the same day.
What happens if I cannot access the E Consent form?
You can access the consent forms using this link: E-Consent
Can boys of all ages get the HPV vaccination?
From September 2019 the HPV vaccination was offered to boys in year 8 as well as girls. Older boys were not eligible for the vaccination.
How long should there be between dose 1 and 2 of the HPV vaccination?
The 2nd vaccination will be given 12-24 months after the 1st vaccine.
What happens if my child does not have the HPV vaccination until they are older?
Anyone who has their 1st vaccine after their 15th birthday will need to have 3 vaccinations. The nurse will discuss this with you and them.
What happens if my child does not have their vaccinations before they leave school?
Your GP will be able to offer the vaccinations to your child. Whilst your child is school aged they need to access via the school immunisation team.
What are the side effects of having the vaccinations?
It is normal for your child to have a sore arm at the injection site, some redness or swelling may be evident, they may also get a headache. These symptoms should normally disappear after a day or two.
If you complete an E Consent form, you will receive an email after the vaccination has been given with this information
Can my child get their vaccinations if I have not completed a consent form?
No, we will need a consent form to be completed before the session. This allows the staff to check your child’s immunisation history before they give the vaccines.
What happens if I cannot access the E Consent form?
Select the form for the vaccination mentioned in your letter and only complete ONE form per child. You will know you have successfully submitted a form as you will see a large green tick on your screen and you will receive a confirmation message via email. If you need support to access and complete an electronic consent form please contact us.
I do not know my child’s NHS number
There is now a website where you can search for your child’s NHS number here, alternatively this can be viewed on a recent prescription or via their personal child health record (PCHR).
What if I complete a consent form and then change my mind about consent?
Please only submit one consent form per child and vaccine, if more than one form is submitted this results in duplicates and can result in a delay in vaccination due to mismatching of information.
We ask that you instead email the immunisation team with the below information:
- Child’s full name
- Child’s DOB
- Child’s school
- Consent status and reason for change
I am separated from the child’s other partner and they have a different view on vaccines to me, what do I do?
If both parents have parental responsibility and have both completed consent forms then one parent cannot overrule the other’s consent, even if considered in the best interest of the child. We recommend that you seek legal advise to discuss consent further. Until a mutual decision is made we will be unable to vaccinate your child.
Vaccines and porcine gelatine
Protecting your child against flu
Immunisations for young people