Information about the vaccines our Child Immunisation Service offers

This page contains more information about the vaccines our Child Immunisations Service offers and the key diseases that these vaccines protect us from. 

We have also included links to useful leaflets and to more information on the NHS Choices website.

Our Child Immunisation Service offers the following vaccines. You can click on the list below to read more.

The HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine for 12 to 13 year old girls in year 8 

The HPV vaccine is given to 12 to 13 year old girls to protect against cervical cancer. The HPV vaccination programme involves two injections, given between six and 24 months apart. It is vital that your child has both of these for effective protection. The vaccine is not a replacement for safe sex and a healthy lifestyle.

Most people do not have any side effects from the vaccine. If they do they are mild and won’t last very long. These might include:

  • Pain, swelling, redness/bruising or itching where you had the injection
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Dizziness.

If your child has any side-effects that worry you or any of these reactions last more than a few days, you should tell your school nurse or GP.

For more information, you can read Public Health England’s HPV vaccination guide or visit NHS Choices.

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The diphtheria, tetanus and polio final school booster for 14 to 15 year old girls and boys, in year 10 

The teenage booster, also known as the ‘3-in-1’ or the Td/IPV vaccine, is given as a single injection into the upper arm. This vaccine boosts your protection against three separate diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and polio.

Tetanus is a painful disease affecting the nervous system which can lead to muscle spasms and breathing problems. It can sometimes be fatal. It is caused when bacteria found in the soil and manure get into the body through open cuts or burns. To read more about tetanus, visit NHS Choices.

Diphtheria is a serious disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can rapidly cause breathing problems. It can damage the heart and nervous system, and in severe cases, it can kill. To read more about diphtheria, visit NHS Choices.

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and it can cause permanent paralysis of muscles. If it affects the chest muscles or the brain, polio can kill. To read more about polio, visit NHS Choices.

The 3-in-1 teenage booster is a very safe vaccine, however in a small number of cases there are minor side-effects such as swelling, redness or tenderness where you had the injection. Sometimes, a small painless lump develops, but usually goes away in a few weeks.

For more information about the 3-in-1 teenage booster, visit NHS Choices. 

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Meningococcal (Meningitis) ACWY vaccine for 14 to 15 year old girls and boys, year 10

Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain. One of the most serious and common causes of meningitis is by meningococcal bacteria. As well as meningitis, meningococcal infection can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning). Both can be very serious causing permanent disability and can sometimes be fatal.

The symptoms usually appear quite quickly and if you see these you should get your child, treated immediately. 

Early signs of meningitis or septicaemia are similar to the symptoms you get when you get the flu – feeling hot, being sick and pain in the back or joints. 

For meningitis the important signs to look out for are:

  • A stiff neck
  • Very bad headache
  • Light hurting the person’s eyes
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling drowsy or confused
  • Red or purple spots that don’t fade under pressure. You can check this by pushing a drinking glass on the spot to see if it fades.

For septicaemia the important signs to look out for are:

  • Feeling drowsy or confused
  • Bad pain in joints
  • Feeling very cold in the hands and feet and shivering
  • Breathing quickly
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Cramps and diarrhoea
  • Red or purple spots that don’t fade under pressure. You can check this by pushing a drinking glass on the spot to see if it fades.

If you, or your child, have a combination of these symptoms, get help urgently. The quicker you receive treatment, the greater the chance there is of a full recovery. Get in touch with your GP, call 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department (A&E).  

Teenagers are at higher risk of developing meningococcal disease and will be offered the vaccine which protects against four different types of Meningitis: A, C, W and Y, and usually these are given at the same time as the 3-in-1 teenage booster. The ‘Men ACWY’ vaccine is a single injection into the upper arm. 

For more information on the ‘Men ACWY’ vaccine, visit NHS Choices.  

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Seasonal influenza (‘flu’) vaccination for all children from reception class to year 4

The seasonal flu vaccine programme runs during the Autumn term each year. This year it will include those children from reception class to year 4 only.

The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray which is squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free, the nasal spray is more effective for use in younger children with fewer side-effects. 

It’s quick and painless and having the vaccine will mean your child is less likely to become ill if they come into contact with the flu virus or spread the germs to other family members.

For more information on the flu vaccination, please visit NHS Choices. You can also read the following information leaflets:

Open Public Health England’s ‘Easy read childhood nasal flu’ leaflet

Open Public Health England’s ‘Which flu vaccine should children have?’ leaflet 

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The BCG Programme 

The BCG tuberculosis (TB) vaccine is for infants up to 12 months of age.

TB is a bacterial infection. It usually affects the lungs but can also affect any part of the body.  

BCG vaccine contains a weakened form of the bacteria (germs) that cause TB.  It is weakened so it doesn’t actually cause TB but it helps your body develop protection (immunity) against TB if you come into contact with it.  The BCG vaccination is particularly effective in protecting babies and young children against the more rare and severe types of TB, such as TB meningitis (swelling of the lining of the brain).

The BCG vaccine (which stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine) is not given as part of the routine NHS vaccination schedule. 

Our BCG Vaccination Programme is only offered to high-risk infants up to age of 12 months. 

If your child was born after 1 September 2016 you should have been offered a BCG at birth or within 28 days at a BCG clinic at your maternity unit in London

Public Health England recommends the BCG vaccination is given if:

  • If you are living in a London borough where the TB incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher (Brent and Ealing are currently in this high risk criteria)
  • Your child is living in a household with parents or grandparents from countries where the TB incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 or higher 

The vaccination is given by injection to the upper arm, and may leave a small scar. 

Referral to our BCG Programme

This is not a school-based programme, but a separate infant programme only for babies up to 12 months old.

Parents will need to contact their GP or health visitor who will assess your child’s eligibility and refer to the BCG service if necessary. 

For children over the age of 12 months, please email: england.contactus@nhs.net

For more information on TB or the BCG vaccine, please visit NHS Choices.

For more information on the current vaccine being used visit NHS Choices or read the leaflet below:

Open Public Health England’s leaflet ‘Why is my child being offered unlicensed BCG vaccine? A guide for parents and carers’

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