Vaccinations (school immunisations)
We look after all the school-based vaccine programmes in Buckinghamshire. We cover over 220 primary schools and 72 secondary schools (including private and independent schools). Vaccinations are given in-line with the National childhood Immunisation Programme and national campaigns.
We also offer local catch-up clinics across the county for children and young people who miss school vaccination sessions, for young people educated at home, or young people with an individual need such as needlephoebia, anxiety and ASD.
For information about vaccinations for infants and pre-school children please see information about pre-school health checks and vaccinations on our health visiting page.
Your child should be up-to-date with their childhood immunisations before starting primary school. You can check when and what immunisations they should have.
How we can help
If you, or your child has any concerns about vaccinations, for example, if your child is needle phobic, has additional needs or a health condition or disability, call us on 01494 323000 or email us on buc-tr.BucksChildImms@nhs.net.
Polio vaccine derived virus has been detected in some sewers in London
You may have heard recently that a Polio vaccine derived virus has been detected in some sewers in London. Whilst Polio has until this time been eliminated in the UK, The most likely scenario is that a recently vaccinated individual entered the UK before February 2022 from a country where oral polio vaccine (OPV) has been used for supplementary immunisation campaigns. While the UK stopped using OPV in 2004, several countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria have continued to use OPV containing type 2 virus for outbreak control.
Whilst the risk remains relatively low, please check that your child is up to date with all their Polio containing vaccines. Which should have been received at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, 3 years and 4 months and 14 years of age .
If you child is missing any Polio containing vaccinations or you are not sure please check your child’s Red Book or contact your GP or the Immunisation Team.
Vaccinations we offer
For Flu season 2022 2023, the flu vaccination programme is available to all primary school aged children between the ages of 4 and 11 years (Reception to Year 6) via planned sessions in schools and community catch up clinics between September and December. In special schools we were able to vaccinate young people older than 16 due to their vulnerability to flu virus.
If we have already been into your child’s school and you would now like your child to receive a flu vaccine please call the immunisation team for an appointment at a community catch up clinic, tel: 01494 323000. Please liaise with your child’s school and the immunisation team for more information.
We are now able to offer flu vaccinations in secondary schools from the week beginning 5 December 2022. We will continue to offer flu vaccinations in January 2023 to those schools we have not been into before Christmas. We will co-administer the flu vaccine with HPV which is perfectly safe to do and which we have done in the past.
If you do not wish your child to have both vaccines on the same day, please call the team to arrange a community catch up clinic appointment.
Further information about the flu vaccine
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children and adults alike, causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness. This can often last a few days and be accompanied by a very high fever; some children may even require hospital admission for management and treatment of severe symptoms.
The flu vaccine used is Fluenz Tetra, (also referred to as Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine or LAIV). It is administered to children as a nasal spray. It is quick, painless and provides the best protection against the flu virus.
Fluenz Tetra uses porcine gelatine as a stabiliser during the manufacturing process, although there is no porcine DNA present in the administered vaccine due to being highly processed.
We would encourage all parents to consent to their children receiving the intra -nasal vaccine as it is the most effective. However for those who prefer to receive a porcine-free vaccine, or if your child or a member of the family with whom your child has unavoidable contact is immunosuppressed then an alternative flu vaccine in injection form will be available from the beginning of the flu programme this year. The immunisation team are happy to give this vaccination in school but if you prefer, an appointment can be made at one of our community catch up clinics. Please email the immunisation team on buc-tr.Buckschildhoodimms@nhs.net for further information
More information:Letter about vaccines and Islam from World health Organisation
Letter about Porcine Gelatine from AstraZeneca
The HPV vaccine helps protect you from being infected 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
- some cancers of the anus and genital areas
The HPV vaccine does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections. To provide the very best protection, it is important that your child is vaccinated against the HPV virus before they come sexually active, which is why it is offered in year 8
HPV vaccination schedules
Two dose schedule (for boys and girls aged 12 years of age onwards)
- First dose of HPV vaccine
- Second dose at least six to 24 months after the first dose
It is important that your child has BOTH their required doses of the HPV vaccine to be properly protected.
Although the HPV vaccine is offered to boys and girls in Year 8, it is recommended that all young people from the age of 12 years up to their 25th birthday receive the vaccine.
If your daughter is 12-25 years and has not received her HPV vaccine please contact the Immunisation Team on 01494 323000.
If your son has not received his HPV vaccine and was in school year 8 (in September 2019 he is eligible) please contact the Immunisation Team on 01494 323000.
Find out more from www.nhs.net about the HPV vaccine
The brand name for the HPV vaccination is GARDASIL.
All young people in school Year 9 are offered the Men ACWY vaccination as part of the routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule. This is administered as a single injection into the upper arm.
What are meningitis and septicaemia?
Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain, and can be the result of infection with a virus, bacteria, or other disease-causing organism, or as a result of injury.
There are five main groups of meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis and septicaemia – A, B, C, W and Y.
As well as meningitis, meningococcal infection can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which is very serious, especially if not diagnosed early, and can lead to death.
Men ACWY Schedule
For protection against four groups (A, C, W and Y) of meningococcal infection, routinely the Men ACWY vaccine is given in Year 9 (aged 13 to 14).
It is important to have one dose of Men ACWY before you reach 19 years of age, or if you are going to university for the first time. If you have missed this, please contact the Immunisation Team on 01494 323000.
It is recommended that all first time university entrants (‘freshers’) up to 25 years old should have the Men ACWY vaccine before or soon after they start university. New university students are at particularly high risk in the first weeks of term when they will come into contact with many new people of a similar age.
The brand name for the Men ACWY vaccination is NIMENRIX.
The Td/IPV (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Polio) vaccination is usually administered at the same time as the Men ACWY vaccination (please see information below about Td/IPV).
All young people in school Year 9 are offered the Td/IPV (teenage booster) vaccination as part of the routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule. This is administered as a single injection into the upper arm.
What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a painful disease affecting the nervous system which can lead to muscle spasms, cause breathing problems and can kill. It is caused when germs found in the soil and manure get into the body through open cuts or burns. Tetanus cannot be passed from person to person.
What is diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a serious disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can quickly cause breathing problems. It can damage the heart and nervous system, and in severe cases, it can kill.
What is polio?
Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system which can cause permanent paralysis of muscles. If it affects the chest muscles or the brain, polio can kill.
The Td/IPV vaccine is a single booster vaccination against Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Polio. You need a total of five doses to build up and keep your immunity. Everyone should have:
- the first three doses as a baby, usually offered at 2 months, 3 months and 4 months of age
- the fourth dose when you are between three and five years old, before starting school, and
- the fifth dose is due in Year 9 (aged 13 to 14)
If you have missed any of these, please contact the Immunisation Team on 01494 323000.
The brand name for the Td/IPV vaccination is REVAXIS.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella are viral infections that can quickly spread to unprotected children and adults – they spread more easily than flu, COVID-19 or the common cold.
Currently in the UK MMR1 coverage remains below the 95% target. In October – December 2021 the latest figures were as follows:
- MMR1 coverage at 24 months in the UK was 89.5%
- MMR1 coverage at 24 months in England was 88.9%
- MMR2 coverage at 5 years in UK was 86.2%
- MMR2 coverage at 5 years in England was 85.5%
This has in part been due to the Pandemic and parents not being about to access their GP surgery. As a result of this, unless more children are vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, we are expecting to see an increase in cases of measles in particular over the next few months.
What is measles?
Measles is a very infectious viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. If you are not protected and have even passing contact with someone who has measles, the chances are that you will be infected too.
There is no treatment or cure for measles. Symptoms include fever, sore red eyes, and rash. Complications are more likely to occur in certain groups including people with weakened immune systems, babies under one year old and pregnant women. Complications can include chest and ear infections, fits, diarrhoea, encephalitis (infection of the brain) and brain damage.
What is mumps?
Mumps is a viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes or close contact with someone who already has the infection. Symptoms usually last around two weeks and can include headache and fever but the most common symptom is swelling of the glands at the side of the face.
There is currently no medication to cure mumps so treatment is focused on relieving symptoms. Complications can be very painful and can include inflammation of the ovaries or testicles, and in rarer cases, the pancreas. Mumps can also cause viral meningitis and encephalitis (infection of the brain). Although permanent hearing loss after mumps is rare, around one in 20 people infected may have temporary hearing loss.
What is rubella (German Measles)?
Rubella is a viral illness that is now rare in the UK. It is spread in a similar way to mumps and measles. For most people, it is usually a mild condition that gets better in 7 to 10 days without treatment. However, if pregnant women develop rubella it can be very serious for their unborn baby. Symptoms include a rash, cold-like symptoms, and aching joints.
The MMR vaccine gives long lasting protection with just two doses of the vaccine. It is a single injection that is administered into the thigh of young children or the upper arm of older children or adults. The first dose is usually given at the age of 12 months and the second dose around three years and four months, before starting school.
It is never too late to have the vaccine if you have missed one dose, had single vaccines, or never had any at all.
If you are unsure whether you have previously had the vaccine, you can check with the Immunisation Team on 01494 323000, or the nurse/ GP at your surgery.
Some adolescents and young adults are offered the MMR vaccine with their other teenage booster vaccines.
We ask if your child is up to date with their MMR vaccination on all of our vaccine consent forms, along with the Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio and Pertussis (DTaP/IPV) or pre-school booster , if your child has missed it. Please contact the Immunisation Team on 01494 323000 to make an appointment.
The brand name for the MMR vaccination is PRIORIX.
For more information please read the PRIORIX leaflet.
The brand name for the DTaP/IPV vaccine is REPEVAX.
For more information please read the REPEVAX leaflet.
All of our school nurses are busy visiting schools, and are currently unable to respond to clinical queries.
If you have a clinical query about the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds, please dial 119 – this is a national line and will be able to answer parental queries.
Guidance for parents regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 5-17 year olds
The school aged immunisation team are no longer administering COVID-19 vaccines in schools across Buckinghamshire. If your child is aged between 5- 17 years old and you wish him/her to be vaccinated please click on the link to find venues across Bucks.
If your child has a learning disability, and you would like them to have a COVID-19 vaccination, there are specialist clinics being run at Amersham Hospital. Appointments can be requested by emailing email@example.com, where we can inform you of our next booked clinics, and can discuss any additional needs or requirements your young person may have.
If you have a clinical query about the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 5-17 year olds please dial 119 – this is a national line and will be able to answer parental queries. Or you can email: BOBCOVID.schoolImmsqueries@nhs.net
My child has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 12 weeks
If your child is aged 5-17 and is healthy and not in an at risk group
Healthy 5-11 and 12-17 year olds who are not in a recognised at risk group, 2nd doses should ideally be given 12 weeks after the first dose or 12 weeks after a suspected COVID-19 infection.
If your child has current COVID -19 symptoms and is unable to take a test and you are unsure if they are positive, it may be a clinical/parent/ child decision to make whether to wait a further 12 weeks from the onset of suspected COVID-19 symptoms.
Should the COVID-19 vaccine be given inadvertently under 12 weeks after positive COVID-19 infection, parents can be reassured that their child will produce an adequate immune response to the vaccine. These children are more likely to have side effects after receiving the vaccine. Most side effects are mild, start within hours of vaccination and resolve within a few days. Paracetamol can be used to manage symptoms
Guidance is slightly different for children that are in the at-risk category
5-11 and 12-17 year olds in recognised at risk groups, 2nd doses should ideally be given 8 weeks after the first. This is the minimum interval other than in exceptional circumstances, as determined by the clinician on a case by case basis.
This does not apply to those who are household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals or health and social care workers. Young people in these groups should also receive any vaccine doses due at a minimum interval of 4 weeks after a confirmed COVID-19 infection.
5-11 and 12-17 year olds in recognised at risk groups who have had a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection. COVID vaccination should be deferred for around 4 weeks from the onset of symptoms or from the first positive specimen.
This is because their individual risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 is higher and so outweighs any potential benefit of delaying to 12 weeks.
3rd Primary Doses
Healthy 5-11 and 12-17 year olds who are not in an at risk group are currently not eligible for a 3rd primary dose or booster.
12-17 year olds who have severe immunosuppression may be eligible for a 3rd dose and will usually be notified by their GP or specialist. If you think that your child might need a 3rd dose but have not been notified you will need clinical assessment of eligibility. The 3rd dose should ideally be given at least 8 weeks after the second dose.
If your child is severely immunosuppressed and has received a 3rd primary dose, they will require a booster dose at least 3 months (91 days) after the 3rd dose.
Is it safe to co-administer COVID-19 vaccinations with other school aged immunisations?
Yes. There is no evidence to indicate that it is not safe to co-administer COVID-19 vaccines with any other school aged immunisations or at any interval either side of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Comirnaty 10 micrograms/dose concentrate for dispersion for injection Children 5 to 11 years COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine (nucleoside modified) – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) – (emc) (medicines.org.uk)
How your child will receive their vaccination
When your son or daughter reaches the eligible age for a vaccine, you’ll get an email including an electronic consent form, a covering letter and a patient information leaflet via your child’s school.
You can complete the form online. Please complete and return the consent form, even if you do not want your child vaccinated. There is a section on every form that allows you to refuse the vaccination.
If you’re unsure which vaccinations your child has had, please call your GP. We may also be able to help you with this.
Submitting your consent form
The portal for the electronic consent form now stays open to allow for any last-minute consents to come through. However, we would be grateful if you could complete your consent form as soon as possible to allow us enough time to triage the consent form in advance of the session and ensure we bring enough vaccine to the school on the day.
If you do not submit your form by this time, and you would like your child vaccinated, please contact the immunisation team on 01494 323000 to complete a consent form over the telephone. If your child misses their vaccination at school or you would like your child vaccinated at a community clinic location, please contact the immunisation team to arrange an appointment.
If you can not access an electronic form, call us on 01494 323000.
If your child is home educated or does not attend school
Call us on 01494 323000 and we can arrange for your child to attend a community catchup clinic for their vaccinations.
Parents who wish to withdraw their consent for vaccination MUST email bht.BucksImmsconsentwithdrawal@nhs.net at least 24 hours prior to the date of the immunisation session.
Please state on the email your child’s school, their name, year group, date of birth and vaccine being given.
For children or young people having injections, it’s important that they wear short sleeves that allow easy access to their upper arms, or wear a vest or t-shirt under their school shirt.
Privacy in schools is often limited and it can be embarrassing to remove clothing. It’s also important that your child eats breakfast and stays hydrated before their vaccination.
Our team will visit your child’s school and will be assisted by school staff to identify children correctly.
We usually offer a catch up session in school. You can also arrange for your child to come to one of our community catch up clinics.
Call us on 01494 323000.
We understand that children with special educational needs or disabilities may be very anxious about having vaccinations. We work closely with the community nurses for children with learning disabilities team, as well as the school nurses, to support children and make their experience as stress free as possible.
When your child is vaccinated in school or community catch up clinic, you will receive an email giving the details of the vaccination and any possible side effects later that day which can be printed off for your child’s immunisation records.