The National Immunisation Programme for secondary schools includes:
- From Autumn 20210, all children in secondary school year 7 to year 11 are offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against the flu as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.
- The HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine for 12-13 year old girls and boys in Year 8.
- The DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and polio) vaccine for 14-15 year old girls and boys in Year 9.
- Meningitis (Men ACWY) vaccine for 14-15 year old girls and boys in Year 9.
This is delivered within schools by our Immunisation teams.
The flu vaccine for children is needle-free and is given as a single dose that is sprayed up each nostril. It is quick and painless and will mean your child is less likely to become ill if they come into contact with the flu virus.
The nasal spray is more effective than the injected flu vaccine, especially in young children, which is why children are now routinely offered the nasal spray rather than the flu jab.
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.
The nasal spray vaccine contains flu viruses that have been weakened to stop them causing flu. It will help your child build up immunity to flu in a similar way as natural infection (but without the symptoms). Because the main flu viruses change each year, a new nasal spray vaccine has to be given each year, in the same way as the injectable flu vaccine. The flu vaccine for children has a very good safety profile. It has been widely used in the US for more than 10 years and no safety concerns have been raised so far.
Parents/carers receive an email about the immunisation at the start of the Autumn term. This will ask for e-consent for your child to be given the vaccine. The immunisation will then be done at school by the school nurse.
View the e-consent form
The nasal spray flu vaccine has very few side effects, the main one being that vaccinated children may have a runny nose for a short time afterwards.
The HPV vaccine has been offered to all girls in school year 8 for over ten years. From September 2019, the vaccine has been offered to year 8 boys. This is because the evidence is clear that the HPV vaccine helps protect both boys and girls from HPV-related cancers.
The HPV vaccine helps protect against infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
This virus increases the risk of developing some cancers later in life, such as: cervical cancer, some mouth and throat cancers and some cancers of the anus and genital areas.
What difference has the HPV vaccine made so far?
More than 80 million people have received the vaccine worldwide. In time it is expected that the vaccine will save hundreds of lives every year in the UK. A recent Scottish study has already shown a 71% reduction in pre-cancerous cervical disease in young women. Since the start of the vaccination programme in the UK there has been a big decline in the number of young people with genital warts.
View the e-consent form
Meningococcal ACWY, diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccines
When you are having your Td/IPV boosters and Men ACWY vaccine, it's a good idea to check with the nurse or doctor that all your other immunisations are up to date (for example, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), and, for some people, hepatitis B).
It's particularly important to check that your MMR immunisation is up to date because some teenagers have not had two doses of MMR.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio
This is given in Year 9 so is sometimes called the school leaver’s booster.
Tetanus is a painful disease affecting the nervous system and is caused when germs found in soil and manure get into the body through open wounds.
Diphtheria is a serious disease that often begins with a sore throat. It can damage the heart, nervous system and in severe cases may kill.
Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis of the muscles; if it affects the chest muscles or brain it can kill.
You need five doses of tetanus, diphtheria and polio to build up and maintain immunity.
This is given in Year 9. This vaccine protects against the four main groups of meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis (infection of the layers that surround the brain and spinal cord) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). Meningococcal disease is rare but really serious and can lead to amputation, hearing loss, brain damage and scars.
E-consent forms and information leaflets are sent out via your child's school at the appropriate time. Young people in secondary school who are assessed as competent by nurses can legally self-consent for any immunisation.
The nurse will check the e-consent form and ensure your child is well and able to have their immunisations that day. If your child is unwell or absent, we will write to you regarding a new appointment.
View the e-consent form