Berkshire School-Aged Immunisation Team
All of our nurses are busy visiting schools, and therefore unable to respond to clinical queries.
If you have a query about the Covid-19 vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds, please email BOBCOVID.schoolImmsqueries@nhs.net
We offer the flu vaccination to all primary school aged children, secondary school pupils in year 7-11, 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 make their experience of vaccination as stress-free as is possible.
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.
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.
Find out why vaccinations are so important for young people and adults (NHS information)
The Vaccine Knowledge Project is a reliable and trusted source of information which explains all about the importance of vaccination. 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.
My child has a medical condition but it’s not mentioned on the consent form
Each consent form asks different clinical questions based upon the vaccine itself and identifies any child or young person who may not be able to have the vaccine. If your child has a medical condition and you are not asked about it on the form, this is because it is not a contra-indication to having that particular vaccine, although we understand it may be something you wish to discuss with us.
I was unable to provide consent via the online system
The School Immunisation team are required to shut down access to electronic consent forms 48 hours in advance of planned school sessions. This is done to allow enough time for the clinical team to check and triage all forms submitted, and to plan the correct staffing for the school session. If a consent form is not submitted before the system closes, we are unfortunately unable to vaccinate the child in the school session on the day. We re-open the system 24 hours after the session has finished and parents are then be able to complete a flu consent form and follow the link within the original email to book a clinic appointment. Unfortunately, there are no planned catch-up clinics for COVID-19 yet but this information will be sent to parents who have enquired and updated on the website as soon as it is known.
I do not want my child to be vaccinated (consent declines)
If you do not consent for your child to be vaccinated please complete a non-consent form for your child for each programme eg Flu and COVID-19. We do not accept emailed or phoned declines as consent needs to be documented via our electronic system. Please follow the consent link within the original details emailed to you, complete your child’s demographic details and indicate whether you consent or decline.
I do not want my child to receive a vaccination without my consent, or be spoken to/ assessed for Gillick Competence by the nursing staff
Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they're believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what's involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent. There is no set of defined questions to assess Gillick competency. Professionals need to consider several things when assessing a child's capacity to consent, including:
- the child's age, maturity and mental capacity
- their understanding of the issue and what it involves - including advantages, disadvantages and potential long-term impact
- their understanding of the risks, implications and consequences that may arise from their decision
- how well they understand any advice or information they have been given
- their understanding of any alternative options, if available
- their ability to explain a rationale around their reasoning and decision making.
It is important to our team to ensure that this assessment is made thoroughly and in an appropriate confidential space and that the child has sufficient opportunity to make a fully informed decision. For this reason, if a child approaches our team during a school session and states that they wish to self-consent to a vaccination (in the absence of parental consent) we will:
- Provide them with information about the vaccine and the associated risks and benefits, the consent process and how to contact us should they have further questions
- Encourage the young person to read the information provided and speak to their parents/carers about the information they have received and discuss their decision, if they feel able to do so
- If they still wish to consent to the vaccination they can contact the service and we will advise them about how to access this.
Young people can also, by law, override parental consent if they do not wish to receive vaccination.
For further information visit: Gillick competence and Fraser guidelines | NSPCC Learning
I want my child to be vaccinated but my partner/ ex-partner does not (conflicting parental consent)
The staff who work in the immunisation team have received thorough training on the law around consent and are therefore aware of their responsibility when circumstances such as this arise (one parent consents, the other withholds consent). The team are fully aware that any dispute between parents must be resolved between them or await a decision from the court. In such circumstances they would annotate the child’s record to this effect and record the differing parental views regarding consent. The law also requires us to consider the “voice of the child/young person” and where appropriate, seek their views. The Department of Health publishes guidance to all health professionals on matters relating to informed and voluntary consent, and the training our team receive covers both the Mental Capacity Act 2005, (updated 2020), which applies to those over 16 years and the concept of Gillick competence (see link below). The test of Gillick competence “enables professionals to assess whether a child has the maturity to make their own decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions.”.
The link to the Department of Health document is below, but the main principles are:
- For consent to be legal it must be informed (the patient must be given sufficient information about the benefits and risks of any proposed treatment/procedures and provided with an opportunity to ask questions).
- It must be given voluntarily; there should be no coercion or undue pressure on an individual to provide their consent
- Withholding their consent should not disadvantage an individual or prevent them from changing their mind.
It is not uncommon that parents may have differing views on whether to agree to consent to this vaccine and indeed other vaccinations or treatments, which is why the training we provide is comprehensive. We aim to work in partnership with parents and carers, but our primary focus remains the needs and wishes of the young person. As professionals we respect that others hold different views, however within the Nurses’ Code of Conduct, staff are also required to act in the best interests of their patients (in this case young people), and where appropriate, enable young people to express their preference.
I need to make a change to details within the consent form I submitted
Demographic Details – name, address, DOB, GP - Unless a significant error has occurred e.g. completely wrong name and details then the nursing/ admin team can update your child’s electronic consent form on the day of vaccination. Please prompt your child to inform the nursing staff on the day that changes need to be made.
Medical Conditions/ changes to health - If there are significant changes to your child’s health that may impact them being able to be vaccinated on the day e.g. increased use of oral steroids for flu, recent positive PCR test for COVID-19 then please provide a written note with your child’s full name, DOB and updating information to give to the nursing team on the day. If your child is too young or unable to relay this information, then please hand the letter to the school reception for the urgent attention of the School immunisation team.
Berkshire Healthcare are aware that a bogus Covid-19 immunisation consent form has been circulated to parents – this is malicious and has not been sent by the NHS. Please ignore it. The consent forms issued by our school-aged immunisation team are digital and linked to every school.
If you need to speak to someone about the Covid-19 vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds, please dial 119. This is a national line and the staff there will be able to answer any queries.
Receiving the vaccine
The COVID-19 Pfizer (Coronavirus) vaccine for young people aged 12-15 is currently available as a 1st and 2nd dose to children and young people in Year 8 to Year 11 in mainstream, independent and special schools is delivered as a single dose. We are also able to offer 1st and 2nd doses to young people in 16-18 year age group who continue to attend full time education. For children and young people in Year 7, the service is unable to offer a school-based service but will be running community clinics after October half term for those young people who have reached their 12th birthday by 31 October.
While it is internationally acknowledged that serious illness from Covid is rare in healthy young people within these age groups, there has been a significant impact on young people’s emotional and mental wellbeing since the start of the pandemic, as well as significant interruptions in their education.
If your child is clinically extremely vulnerable or living in a home with a household contact who is immunosuppressed, they will be eligible for a 2nd dose after a minimum of 8 weeks. The 1st dose can be given in the school, and we will refer back to GP or your child’s consultant to ensure they can access their 2nd dose.
Gaining parental consent
The service uses a secure web-based service, so consent forms are sent digitally by school directly to parents. The service is aware that there is malicious false information being circulated by some anti-vax groups. We therefore advise parents to access approved government websites. We have been informed that clinical queries regarding COVID-19 can be directed to 119 which provides national telephone advice. Please complete a consent form even if you do not wish your son/daughter to receive the vaccine. If you have further questions about consent, please see the ‘Consenting to vaccinations’ section on our main page.
About the COVID 19 Vaccine
COVID-19 (corona virus) is a very infectious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine makes it much less likely for children/young people to get very ill from COVID-19 and it will stop the catching and passing on of the virus. It cannot give you the COVID-19 infection.
Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given worldwide and it has been tested to make sure it is as safe as possible. The vaccine is highly effective in children and young people. Currently the vaccine licensed for children and young people is the Pfizer vaccine.
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some young people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe. The vaccines do not contain organisms that grow in the body, and so are safe for children and young people with disorders of the immune system. The response may not be as good, but it should offer protection against severe disease. It may take a few weeks for the body to build up some protection from the vaccine.
Vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them. With the vaccine used in under-18s, side effects are more common with the second dose.
Very common side effects include:
- a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where injection given, this tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
- feeling tired
- general aches, or mild flu like symptoms
Resting and taking paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) helps. Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate COVID-19 or another infection. Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If symptoms seem to get worse or there are any concerns call NHS 111.
Less common side effects include:
- Swollen glands in the armpit or neck on the same side as the arm vaccine given. This can last for around 10 days, but if it lasts longer seek GP advice.
- Recently, cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after COVID-19 vaccines. These cases have been seen mainly in younger men within a few days of vaccination. Most of these people felt better after a few days of rest and simple treatment. Seek medical advice urgently if the following are experienced after the COVID 19 vaccine:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, futtering, or pounding heart
If advice is sought from a doctor or nurse, tell them about the vaccination (show them the vaccination card, if possible) so that they can complete a proper assessment.
Signs of COVID-19
COVID-19 cannot be caught from the vaccine, but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.
The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
- A new cough and you keep on coughing
- A high temperature
- A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
Although a fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination if you have the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test. Further information on symptoms is available on Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS (www.nhs.uk). If you cannot use the NHS website, phone 111 free of charge.
Your child should not attend a vaccine appointment if self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or within 12 weeks of having a positive COVID-19 test. If they are unwell on the day they are due to be vaccinated it is better to wait until they are recovered.
COVID-19 is spread through droplets breathed out from the nose or mouth, particularly when speaking or coughing. It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. It is still important to continue to follow current national guidance:
- think about social distancing
- wear a face mask where advised
- wash your hands carefully and frequently
- open windows to let fresh air in
Further information is available from How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Public Health England have an information leaflet for young people about the vaccine, what to expect after the vaccine, and an easy read leaflet
My child tested positive for COVID and they are due to be vaccinated, what are the rules?
Vaccination should be deferred in those with confirmed COVID infection to avoid onward transmission and confusing the differential diagnosis. As clinical deterioration can occur up to two weeks after infection, ideally vaccination should be deferred until clinical recovery to around four weeks after onset of symptoms or four weeks from the first confirmed positive specimen in those who are asymptomatic.
My child is in year 7 and has just turned 12, but they haven’t been offered a COVID-19 Vaccine in school. Why not?
To ensure we safely vaccinate children aged 12 and above we have not offered any year 7 students COVID vaccination in school. All young people in year 7 may start turning 12 from the 1st September so we are looking at offering a clinic for students who have turned 12 between the 1st September and the 31st October outside of school, however we are awaiting further national guidance on catch up clinics. We will sent communication out to parents of all eligible year 7’s once we have provision set up.
My child has been vaccinated but I have no vaccine record card
Our electronic consent system will email you an electronic version of a vaccine record card, which included the date the vaccine was given and batch details. We have also updated the national immunisation system which will update your child’s GP records.
My 12-15 year old child missed their Covid vaccination in school
If your child was absent, unwell, had a positive PCR test (in the 4 weeks leading up to the planned school session) or you did not complete a consent form in time and you would like them to be vaccinated please await further correspondence from our team to you via school. Due to the significant numbers of young people who will need to be vaccinated this provision is being discussed at a national level to ensure it is safe, efficient and can provide the availability required. We do not have a waiting list and are unable to provide you with any further updates at this time.
I do not agree with the decision to immunise 12-15 year olds against Covid
If you wish to raise concerns about the national policy in regards to the delivery of the COVID-19 programme to 12-15 year olds in schools, please email NHS England via: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Autumn term (2021-2022) the School-aged immunisation team will be returning to all primary and secondary schools to offer the flu vaccine to children in years Reception to year 11. This year it will also include those from years 7 to 11. If your child does not currently attend school, they will be invited to an alternative local community venue.
The children's flu vaccine is offered as a yearly nasal spray to children and young people to help protect them against flu. Flu can be a serious illness that leads to complications like bronchitis and pneumonia, and painful ear infections in children. Children under the age of 5 years old have the highest rate of hospital admission of any age group.
Vaccinating your child will not only help protect them from getting the flu but also 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.
See the Flu vaccine FAQs section for more information.
Why is flu vaccination important for children?
Flu is unpredictable and the levels of flu activity vary each year. Some years are much worse than others. For instance, in 2014 to 2015, a bad flu year, there were 28,000 deaths. There are several strains of the flu virus that cause flu and virus mutations also occur.
Flu can be a serious illness that leads to complications like bronchitis and pneumonia, and painful ear infections in children. Children under the age of 5 years old have the highest rate of hospital admission of any age group.
The main purpose of the programme is to help protect children themselves and to stop them spreading flu to their families and the wider community, given the role that children have in transmission of the flu virus. Those most at risk from the complications of flu (such as pregnant women, older people, and those with underlying health conditions) are also offered flu vaccination, and it is also free for anyone aged 50 years old and over this year.
Will it be a bad flu winter this year?
We don’t know whether it will be a bad flu winter this coming year, but we need to be prepared. The winter that we just had saw very low levels of flu activity, with measures in place to reduce COVID-19 (such as hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing and reduced international travel) helping to reduce flu transmission.
It’s hard to predict what will happen this coming winter but there may be a rebound in flu. If some of the measures to reduce COVID-19 remain in place, this will help reduce flu transmission too, as will uptake of flu vaccination which was at record high levels last year. However, there is also a risk that because we saw so little flu this last year, that there could be high levels of flu activity this coming winter because people will be mixing more and will also be more susceptible.
Why is there such a large extension of the programme in secondary schools this year?
Vaccinating children is a cost-effective way of reducing transmission of flu and therefore reducing illness and death from flu. Because of concerns about COVID-19 still being in circulation this winter, and the pressure this may cause on the NHS, JCVI recommended that vaccinating secondary school-aged children this winter would be the most effective intervention to reduce flu and mitigate the impacts of the co-circulation of flu and COVID-19. This is a temporary measure for the 2021 to 2022 season and a decision on future seasons has not yet been made.
Schools also benefit from vaccinating their pupils. It helps to provide a healthy school environment by protecting pupils and, indirectly, the staff. Research has shown that the programme has reduced school absences, which is particularly important this flu season given the disruption to education during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reduces the likelihood of flu outbreaks in schools, where symptoms may be confused with those of COVID-19.
Will children and young people be offered COVID-19 vaccination this autumn?
No decisions have been made on whether children should be offered COVID-19 vaccinations. We will be guided by the advice of our experts on these issues including the independent JCVI. There will be further communications if a decision is made to offer COVID-19 vaccination in schools.
Why are children offered a nasal spray?
Children are offered a nasal spray as it’s quick, painless and more effective in the programme than an injected vaccine. This is because it’s easier to administer and is considered better at reducing the spread of flu to others.
There will be a small number of children in your school not able to have the nasal spray vaccine because of pre-existing medical conditions or treatments. They will be offered an injected vaccine (either at school or through their GP practice).
All questions about vaccine suitability, and whether the child or young person can have it on the day if unwell, should be directed to the school age immunisation provider team.
Is there porcine gelatine in the nasal spray?
The nasal spray contains very small amounts of porcine gelatine, which is used as a stabiliser in the vaccine. Some people may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products. For these children, there is an alternative injectable vaccine available this year and parents should discuss the options with the school age immunisation provider team.
When do the vaccinations need to be given?
Vaccinations are generally given in the autumn term before flu tends to circulate. As the flu virus can change each year, vaccination is required on an annual basis.
Who will be giving the vaccine to the children?
The programme will be delivered by an NHS commissioned school age immunisation provider team which may include nurses, healthcare support workers, administrative staff, and other associated professionals who specialise in the delivery of school age vaccinations. The team will administer the vaccination according to nationally set standards. Staff will have appropriate qualifications and training, including safeguarding training. Depending on the advice that is current at the time, staff administering the vaccine may need to be wearing personal protective equipment.
How will parent or guardian consent be obtained?
A consent form and information leaflet provided by the school age immunisation provider team will be used to seek parental consent. Parents will also be provided with a contact number for the school age immunisation provider team in case of any queries. Forms should be returned by the deadline agreed with the team. You may be asked to collect these forms from parents on behalf of the school age immunisation provider team or it may be done electronically.
Does GDPR change how consent needs to be obtained?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became UK law on 25 May 2018. No change is required to the way in which parental agreement is obtained. Schools should continue to work with the school age immunisation provider teams providing vaccinations in schools, who will provide information resources and parental consent forms.
How will the school age immunisation provider team identify the children to be vaccinated?
The team will have a list of all children for whom consent has been received. They may ask the class teacher or assistant to confirm the identity of younger children in primary schools.
Who decides whether a child receives the vaccination?
Parents or guardians with parental responsibility make this decision. In primary schools, only children for whom consent has been received will be vaccinated. It is therefore worth reminding parents of the importance of completing the consent form they are sent ahead of the scheduled vaccination sessions.
In secondary schools, some older children may be sufficiently mature to provide their own consent if their parents have not returned a consent form and they express a wish to have a vaccine on the day of the session. The team will speak to the child and will be responsible for assessing the appropriateness of administering the vaccine. This will include making every effort to contact the parent to seek their verbal consent and/or an assessment of the individual child’s capacity to self-consent, where appropriate.
Can parents refuse to have their child vaccinated?
Yes. The vaccination is not mandatory. Parents will be asked to give their informed consent for the vaccination. Older children may express a wish to have the vaccine and have the capacity to provide informed consent themselves. Parents of older children should be encouraged to speak to their children ahead of time so that there is agreement on consent in advance of the vaccination session.
What happens if a child is not present on the day when vaccination is offered in the school?
For any children absent on the vaccination day, there will be catch-up arrangements in place that the school age immunisation provider team will be able to share with the school.
My child missed their flu vaccine in school
If your child was absent or unwell you will receive an email confirming that they did not receive a flu vaccine with instructions and link explaining how to book a clinic appointment online. You can also amend and cancel via this link. If you were unable to complete a consent form in time and you would like your child to receive a flu vaccine please return to our consent system https://www.berkshireimmunisations.co.uk/Forms/Flu at least 24 hours after the planned session date and complete a consent form. You will receive an email with further instructions on how to book following the consent form being completed.
What should be done if a child becomes unwell in school after receiving the vaccination?
If the school age immunisation provider team is still on site, seek advice directly from them. If the school age immunisation provider team has left the site, manage the situation according to existing policies for pupil sickness in school and contact the school age immunisation provider team to ensure they are aware and can report any event related to the timing of administration of the vaccine.
What if the vaccination session at my school is quite late in the autumn or winter?
For children who are at risk because they have an underlying health condition, it is very important that they get the flu vaccine for their own protection. Parents can ask their child’s GP to vaccinate them rather than wait for the school session if this is what they prefer.
See NHS.UK for further information.
Can unvaccinated contacts catch flu from the nasal spray droplets or from vaccinated individuals ‘shedding’ the virus?
The nasal spray vaccine has a good safety record and unvaccinated contacts are not at risk of catching flu from the vaccine, either through being in the same room where the flu vaccine has been given or by being in contact with a recently vaccinated individual. Although vaccinated children are known to shed virus for a few days after vaccination, it is less able to spread from person to person than the natural infection. The amount of virus shed is normally below the levels needed to pass on infection to others and the virus does not survive for long outside of the body. This is in contrast to natural flu infection, which spreads easily during the flu season.
Excluding children from school during the period when the vaccine is being offered, or in the following weeks, is not necessary. The only exception to this would be the tiny number of children who are extremely immunocompromised (for example those who have just had a bone marrow transplant). These children are normally advised not to attend school anyway because of the much higher risk of being in contact with other infections, including natural flu infection, that spread in schools.
Are pre-school children being offered flu vaccination in general practice?
Yes, all children who are aged 2 and 3 years old on 31 August 2021 will be offered flu vaccination through general practice.
Will young people in the sixth form or sixth form college be offered flu vaccination this year?
Any young person who is not in one of the eligible year groups for flu vaccination, but has an underlying health condition that puts them more at risk of flu, is eligible for a free flu vaccine from their GP practice or pharmacy.
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.
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
Other useful websites which answer most common clinical queries:
If you are considering making a complaint but need help, you can discuss your issue with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Call 0118 960 5027
If you wish to make a formal complaint about the School Immunisation team, please email our complaints team email@example.com
If you wish to raise concerns about the national policy in regards to the delivery of the COVID-19 programme to 12-15 year olds in schools, please email NHS England: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vaccines and porcine gelatine
Protecting your child against flu
Immunisations for young people