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Immunisation In Secondary School: Just The Facts

In the UK we have one of the most successful immunisation programmes in the world.

This means that dangerous diseases, such as polio, have disappeared in the UK.

But these diseases could come back – they’re still around in many countries throughout the world. That’s why it’s so important to get protected.

What, where, when, who?

From September 2015 the following immunisations will be offered in school, and they will not be available at the GP surgery

In year 8, only girls will be offered 2 doses of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. These will be given 6 months apart. If you miss this opportunity don’t worry- speak to your school who will arrange for you to have it.

In year 9, girls and boys will be given two immunisations:

  • Teenage booster which protects against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio
  • Meningitis booster which protects against A, C, W and Y strains of meningitis.

The immunisations are given in school by a healthcare professional who is experienced at giving injections. It’s given  in the upper arm, but don’t worry it’s quick!

You will receive a letter and consent form to fill out about 2 weeks before the planned immunisation session. It’s really important to read all the information enclosed and return your signed forms back to school before the session date.

Questions, questions

The type of questions you’ll be asked by the health care professional before you have your immunisation include:

  • Are you well today?
  • Are you taking any medicines?
  • Have you had any recent immunisations?
  • Have you had a bad reaction to any immunisations in the past?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Do you have a bleeding disorder? When you cut or bump yourself if you bleed or bruise really badly we would like to know about it. Usually these conditions have been spotted and you would be having treatment
  • Are you receiving treatment under a hospital or a doctor?

We would also need to know if anyone is pregnant or thinks they could be pregnant. This is important for us to know, and can be discussed with the nurse in private.

How will I feel after the immunisation?

  • You may have a sore, red arm but it’s important to keep moving it and carry on with your day.
  • It’s common to have a headache, raised temperature, achy joints for a couple of days after immunisation. It could be the body’s natural immune response or you could just have caught a different virus.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids such as water helps to keep your body hydrated. You may wish to have a dose of Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. Please discuss this first with an adult and follow the instructions on the packaging of these medications.
  • More serious side effects are very rare and the vaccines used meet rigorous safety standards to be licenced for the UK Immunisation Programme.


  • It’s really great if you share the information about the immunisation with your parent/carer and sign the form together.
  • It’s OK to make the decision yourself but make sure you have all of the information and talk to the immunisation nurse on the day who will help to answer any questions.
  • If you don’t have your parent or carer’s consent it doesn’t mean you can’t have the immunisation. The immunisation nurse will to talk to you to make sure it’s safe.



How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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