Immunisation advice for the new school year

With summer at a close, it’s that time of year again when children and young people are starting or returning to school. After 6 weeks away, new class groups and spending more time with friends and colleagues means that there will likely be an increase in exposure to bugs and viruses.

Making sure children and young people are up to date with routine vaccinations gives the best protection against infectious illnesses that have the potential to be harmful to them and to other children and staff who are more vulnerable.

What are the relevant immunisations?

For children entering school, pre-school boosters are offered by GP Practices to children from age 3 years 4 months and include:

  • The four-in-one pre-school booster – diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio
  • The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is given at one year (first dose) and at 3 years 4 months (second dose).

Parents/carers can find information on all vaccinations that children should have on the NHS website. If parents/carers are unsure, this can be checked in their child’s health record (Red Book) or by contacting their GP surgery. If parents/carers have any concerns about vaccinations, more information about the benefits of vaccination and possible risks of diseases if unvaccinated can be found here. The NHS website also has vaccination tips for parents and carers to help children’s vaccination appointments go smoothly.

This autumn term the flu vaccination will be offered to all primary school aged children. These vaccinations are usually given in the form of a nasal spray and are delivered by the School Aged Immunisation Service who will be in touch with the school to organise the vaccination sessions. Delivering the programme through schools results in higher uptake and therefore provides more protection against illness, both for children receiving the vaccine and for others who may be particularly vulnerable such as babies, people with other health conditions, and older people. Schools can help to promote the vaccination programme by providing information to parents/carers and promoting uptake.

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