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Immunisation Team

About the School Aged Immunisation team

The School Aged Immunisation team consists of registered nurses and healthcare support workers who are commissioned by NHS England to deliver the National School Aged Programme of Immunisations across Berkshire. These programmes are mainly delivered in schools, but may be delivered in community clinics or homes for children who are unable to access school-based provisions.

Our school-based immunisation programme includes:

  • National Flu Programme: During the 2020 to 2021 flu season, all children between 2 and 11 years old (but not 12 years or older) on 31 August 2020 will be offered a flu vaccine (School years Reception to year 7). All children and young people who attend special educational needs schools, regardless of age, are eligible for their flu vaccine via the immunisation team.
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): This is a two dose programme (given 6 to 24 months apart). Dose 1 is usually offered to all boys and girls aged 12 to 13 years (equivalent to school year 8). The HPV programme for males commenced on 1 September 2019, with no catch up programme commissioned. This means that all males who were aged 12 on 31 August 2019 were eligible to receive this vaccination. Any males aged 13 or older on 31 August 2019 are not eligible for a free HPV vaccine via the NHS, but can access this vaccine privately. Girls aged 12 and over are eligible for this vaccine via the immunisation team up until age 17, after which age it will need to be accessed via your GP.
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus & Polio booster (Td/IPV) and Meningitis ACWY booster injections: Two vaccinations offered to all pupils in Year 9. The Td/IPV is a booster and every child should have already received 4 doses of this vaccine (please check with your GP practice if you are unsure).
  • MMR targeted catch up programme: For children and young people in year 2 and year 9 of school who are known to have an incomplete MMR history, this catch up programme is offered throughout the academic year.

 

All state maintained, academy and free schools and most independent schools are included in the programme, including special schools and pupil referral units. For children who are home educated or have missed their dose at school, community clinics are provided across Berkshire. If your child has missed their routine school immunisations, please contact the team as they can be provide these immunisations up until young people finish full time education.

If your child is needle phobic, highly anxious or you are worried, contact the team, and they will be able to advise how they can be supported to receive their immunisation. Contact the school-aged immunisation team to find out when these are in your area.

If you would like to know more about the childhood vaccination schedule, visit the NHS vaccinations page

For a souce of independent information about vaccines and infectious diseases visit Vaccine Knowledge Project 

See the Helpful resources section to view the Public Health England vaccination schedule.

You can also check out the NHS resource which explains why vaccines are safe and necessary.

From September 2020 the immunisation team are aiming to fully resume their routine and catch up immunisation programme in schools and in the community.

Any child or young person who was due to be vaccinated between March and July will be caught up during the 20/21 academic year, this includes clinic appointments that were cancelled due to Covid-19. Below is our timetable for the next academic year: 

September 2020:

  • All young people moving into year 9, who should have received their 1st HPV in year 8 will be offered this vaccine within a school visit.
  • All young people in year 10 who missed their year 9 dose of Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio and Meningitis ACWY will be caught up in one of 4 planned school sessions in the 20/21 academic year.

October-December 2020:

  • All children and young people in school years from Reception up to year 7 (or reception upwards in SEN schools) will be offered a flu nasal spray (or an injectable vaccine for some with contra-indications).

January -March 2021:

  • Girls in year 10, who did not receive their 2nd dose of the HPV vaccine will be offered their 2nd
  • All young people in year 8 will be offered their 1st dose of the HPV vaccine.

April – July 2021:

  • All young people in year 9 will be offered their 2nd HPV alongside their school leaver booster of Tetanus, Diptheria, Polio and Meningitis ACWY
  • MMR catch ups for anyone missing one or more doses of MMR
  • Catch ups for absent or unwell students, if unable to vaccinate in school.

Community Clinics

A number of clinic appointments were cancelled between March and July 2020. Our aim is to catch up as many of these young people within their school setting, alongside other planned immunisation sessions. This is because we will be visiting all secondary educational provisions up to four times within the 20/21 academic year. Unless your child is home educated, unable to access school provision or has been assessed by the immunisation team as being unable to be vaccinated in school due to anxiety, or another reason we recommend catch ups within school. 

From September 2020 we will be offering all students, who can be vaccinated in schools, their missed vaccines and will be contacting all other students to discuss when we catch them up.

Vaccine concerns 

If you or your child has concerns about being vaccinated within a school environment, please contact us to discuss as there are ways we can vaccinate to reduce heightened anxiety and worry, such as vaccinating first, vaccinating away from peers, vaccinating lying down and distraction methods. The nurses and healthcare staff are very experienced in dealing with a wide range of children and young people with additional needs and anxieties so it is always worth trying in school before asking for an alternative way of vaccinating.

You don’t need to refer your child for vaccinations. We’ll send a consent form home to you, via the school, to ask for your consent for your child to be vaccinated when they’re due the next vaccine on the national schedule. The form will explain where you can get more information from about the vaccine. You’ll need to return the completed consent form to your school, where it will be collected by the team. 

The school will then tell you when we will be coming to your child’s school to immunise your child. We visit your child’s school on the date and time planned. The nurse will check their consent form with them, make sure they understand what’s happening and check they’re well enough to have the vaccination.

Children of secondary school age might be able to give their own consent for their immunisation, if they can demonstrate they fully understand the benefits and risks.

If your child is home educated, or not fully accessing the curriculum, they can be immunised at their local community clinic by our team. You will need to go with them.

All children and young people who have a vaccination are given the opportunity to give feedback about the service they received. Our team ask schools for their feedback as well.

 

 

 

All children in the UK are offered the combined MMR vaccine at 12 months and again at 3 years and 4 months, which means they would be fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella by the time they start primary school. To make sure your child's vaccines are up to date either check your child's personal health record (red book) or contact your GP.

Cases of measles are on the increase. It is an extremely contagious virus that can lead to serious complications. See our news story and the Measles leaflet in the Document Downloads section at the bottom of this page for more information. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness which can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. The disease is still endemic in many countries around the world including within Europe, with France, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Germany reporting the highest cases. If you are planning on travelling abroad, make sure you check your child's red book and contact your GP if they are not up to date with two MMR vaccinations.

If your child has not received two combined MMR vaccines they are not protected. It is not too late to get this done. Contact the school-aged immunisation team on schoolimmunisationteam@berkshire.nhs.uk or call 01753 636759 for East Berkshire or 0118 9207575 for West Berkshire.

More information

Public Health England has produced an informative leaflet on the MMR vaccine, available in 21 languages.

Why is the UK seeing a rise in measles cases? BBC News article

'Significant' rise in mumps cases in Wales - BBC News article

Guidance on combined MMR vaccine instead of single vaccines - Public Health England

Information on MMR Vaccine - Vaccine Knowledge Project

MMR vaccine overview - NHS 

Video from Public Health Agency on why the MMR vaccine is important

In light of the risk of flu and COVID-19 co-circulating this winter, the national flu immunisation programme will be absolutely essential to protecting vulnerable people and supporting the resilience of the health and care system. With this in mind the children’s programme has been extended to include year 7 (those aged 11 on 31st August 2020). 

Having the vaccine will help protect your child from what can be a very nasty illness in children. Children under the age of five years have the highest rate of hospital admissions due to flu. It will reduce the chance of others in your family, who could be at greater risk from flu, such as grandparents or those with long term health conditions, getting flu from your child. 

This year, helping to protect them against flu is particularly important if COVID-19 is still circulating because people at risk from flu are also vulnerable to the complications of COVID-19. It can help you avoid having to take time off work or other activities because you are ill or need to look after your sick child.

If you have any concerns about the porcine content in the nasal spray, the British Fatwa Council/Karimia Institute has issued a fatwa permitting LAIV for Muslims.  

Human Papilomavirus (HPV) is a common group of viruses that affects the skin. It is very common, easy to catch, and most people will get HPV of some type at some time in their life. It has no symptoms, so you may not know if you have it. Most HPV infections do not cause any problems and are cleared by the body's immune system within two years. Some types can, however, lead to genital warts or abnormal cell changes that could turn into cancer, most commonly cervical cancer in women, but also cancer of the anus, throat and penis in men, and vagina and vulva in women. 90% of genital warts are due to HPV.

Although HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK and is passed through sexual contact, it is important that young people are vaccinated to provide them with protection for later on in life if, and when, they choose to become sexually active. The vaccine works best if girls and boys get it before they come into contact with HPV (ie, before they become sexually active). HPV can be caught by any skin to skin contact of the genital area; vaginal, anal or oral sex; or sharing sex toys.

The HPV vaccine has been offered to all girls in school year 8 for over ten years. From September 2019 the vaccine has also 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. 

Young people aged 12-13 (in year 8) will be offered two doses of the HPV vaccine (6-24 months apart). Both doses are required in order to give full protection.

More information

Jo's Trust - the UK's leading cervical cancer charity - information about HPV, cervical screening and cervical cancer

HPV Wise - information on the HPV vaccine and infection

NHS Choices information on HPV

See the document downloads section for more information on HPV.

 

In September 2020 the immunisation team launched their new electronic consent system, in line with the NHS Digital strategy. This means that all school aged vaccination programmes now require consent to be given electronically via our e-consent website:

www.berkshireimmunisations.co.uk

The website can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or laptop and should be completed to record your consent decision, regardless of whether you give consent or not. 

Prior to your child’s planned immunisation session you should receive an email from your child's school with a unique code, which allows you to enter a consent form specifically for your child’s school. If your child is home educated then you should be contacted by your ‘virtual head’ with a unique code, linked to the locality you live in and advised how to book a community clinic appointment. 

If you have any difficulties in accessing the e-consent system and/or need help to complete the form online, please contact the immunisation team on 0300 365 0077. 

If you complete a consent form and then change your mind about whether you wish to consent or not, or if your child’s medical history changes prior to the planned session, please contact the immunisation team so that we can amend your child’s consent form – please do not complete a duplicate form.

Telephone: 0300 365 0077

Email: schoolimmunisationTeam@berkshire.nhs.uk

Local area contact details

Berkshire West (Wokingham, Reading, West Berkshire)

0118 920 7575

schoolimmunisationteam@berkshire.nhs.uk

Berkshire East (Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough, Bracknell)

01753 636759

schoolimmunisationteam@berkshire.nhs.uk

School Aged Immunisation Advice Line

From 27 April we are introducing a new School Aged Immunisation Advice Line for parents and carers of school aged children (4 to 16 years), on 07929185006 from 10am-2pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.

The advice line can provide you with information and advice around a range of immunisation related issues, including:

  • Specific immunisation programmes aimed at school aged children:
    • Influenza – primary school and special educational needs schools
    • Universal HPV – years 8 and 9
    • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio Booster – year 9
    • Meningitis ACWY – year 9
    • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) – catch up programme for all school ages
  • Dosages, schedules and how vaccines are given
  • Incomplete immunisation history – what vaccines your child may need
  • Information about planned and upcoming school sessions/ community clinics

Our Berkshire-wide immunisation service for 0-19 year olds offers advice and support to families about immunisations from the routine UK children’s immunisation schedule.

We aim to engage and educate families about immunisations, improve access to immunisations and raise awareness of immunisations generally through partnership working and initiatives around Berkshire. 

How to access this service

Currently, the immunisation nurse can give immunisations to 5-19 year olds where families are struggling to access their GP surgery such as at a home or community visit (certain criteria applies). Families can contact the immunisation nurse for more information via telephone/email. 

Professionals should request and complete an electronic referral form by emailing schoolimmunisationteam@berkshire.nhs.uk Referrals will be assessed on an individual basis.

Immunisations are given to under 5s by GP surgeries but the immunisation nurse is available to offer advice and information on immunisations over the telephone or face-to-face at a home/community visit or at the GP surgery. 

Contact the immunisation nurse 

The immunisation nurse can be contacted Monday to Friday, by phone: 07798 682445 or email: nicola.smith@berkshire.nhs.uk

You can find more information by visiting:

 

  

Helpful resources

Protecting your child against flu

Public Health England information for parents leaflet
External web link - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/714954/PHE_Protecting_Child_Flu_DL_leaflet.pdf

MMR vaccination year 2

MMR vaccination information sheet
Download - File size: 248KB

Vaccine schedule

Schedule for vaccinations 2020
External web link - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/849184/PHE_complete_immunisation_schedule_Jan2020.pdf

Flu: 5 reasons to vaccinate your child

Public Health England information on why you should give your child the flu vaccine
External web link - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/807432/PHE_Flu_5_reasons_poster_2019.pdf

HPV vaccination pack for parents and carers

Information on the HPV vaccination for parents and carers 2019/20
Download - File size: 1138KB

HPV vaccination information leaflet

Information leaflet from Public Health England on the HPV virus and vaccination
Download - File size: 402KB

School vaccination timetable

Autumn term vaccination timetable for schools
Download - File size: 60KB

Easy read leaflet: protect yourself against flu

Information for people with a learning disability
External web link - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/905376/PHE_flu_easy_read_winter_2020_leaflet.pdf

Flu vaccination information in other languages

Information leaflets in other languages
External web link - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-vaccination-leaflets-and-posters