Immunisations - Children

The Immunisation Team delivers all school-aged immunisation across south London (in the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton, Merton, Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth).

Reasons for providing vaccinations in school:

  • School based immunisations help ensure as many children / young people are reached and offered protection as possible.
  • In turn this helps protect those in the community (through herd immunity) who are vulnerable, who may not be able to have vaccinations i.e. new-born babies, elderly and those with a low immunity due to health reasons.
  • It prevents children / young people missing school or parents /guardians taking time out of work or from busy lives for a vaccination appointment.
  • Prevents children / young people who are well entering a GP surgery.

The role of the immunisation nurse is predominantly focused on health promotion, education and the prevention of disease through vaccination. The nurses are able to provide support & advice on school aged immunisations and will be able to direct you to further information so you and your child can make an informed choice about the planned vaccination(s).

For more information on all vaccinations given in childhood please see the NHS website (below):

Distraction techniques

  • Please bring your phone or an MP3 player so you can listen to your favourite music whilst having an injection
  • Why not watch this distraction video below on your mobile whilst having an injection

Image which depicts "Going to see the nurse" in sign language

Image which shows sign language for the text "You need to visit the nurse at school. You need to have an injection to make sure you don't get unwell. If you stay still when you have the injection it will not hurt."

Image which shows sign language for the text "The nurse will need to put an injection into your arm. You will be safe, the injection will not hurt if you stay still."

Image which shows sign language for the text "After the injection everyone will be proud of you for being so brave. You will get a sticker."

Graphic which shows a 'thumbs up' with the text reading 'well done'

There is a language tool in the accessibility bar if English is not your first language.

From October 2019, all children in reception class and years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be offered the flu vaccination through a nasal spray. 

The vaccine offered is given as a simple spray up the nose. It is painless, very quick to administer, and serious side effects are uncommon.

This vaccination programme is designed to protect your child against influenza (flu) which can be an unpleasant illness and, although rarely, can sometimes cause serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

By having the flu vaccination, children are less likely to pass the virus on to friends and family. This will help to protect those who are at greater risk from flu, including infants, older people and those with an underlying health condition. In addition it will prevent time off school and work for family members who care for their child whilst unwell.

The flu vaccine provides protection against the strains that are predicted to circulate in the coming season. These strains may change from year to year which is why we recommend the vaccination every year.

A consent form and letter will be sent through your child’s school. We have a short animation on YouTube explaining why children are invited to have the vaccine in school – HRCH childhood immunisations-nasal flu spray.

After the vaccination is administered, your child will be given an information leaflet about any potential side effects to take home for the parent/guardian with the date of the vaccination on. This is to be kept in the child/young person’s health record (red) book.

For further information please visit the NHS website vaccination page.

Watch the films below about the nasal flu vaccination programme, which is being piloted in primary schools across England. Find out more by visiting

There is a language tool in the accessibility toolbar if English is not your first language.

Year 8 - HPV vaccine

In England, from September 2019 both girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years will now be routinely offered the first dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in school Year 8. This is an extension of the HPV vaccination programme and will help prevent more cases of HPV-related cancers in boys and girls.

The second dose is offered 6 to 12 months after the first (in school Year 9). It's important to have both doses to be protected.

Girls who missed their HPV vaccination in school Year 8 can continue to have the vaccine up to their 25th birthday. Those who start the HPV vaccination after the age of 15 will need 3 doses to have full protection. This is because the response to two doses in those older is not quite as good. Please contact your GP if you are female and18-24 years old and would like your HPV vaccination.

A catch-up program for older boys is not necessary as evidence suggests they're already benefitting greatly from the indirect protection (known as herd protection) that's built up from 10 years of the girls' HPV vaccination program.

What is HPV?

HPV is the name given to a very common group of viruses. There are more than 100 different types of HPV, and around 40 that affect the genital area.

HPV is very common and as HPV infections do not usually cause any symptoms, often people will not know they're infected. Most people will get a HPV infection at some point in their lives and their bodies will get rid of it naturally without treatment, but in some cases the infection stays in the body for many years and then, for no apparent reason, starts to cause damage. 

High-risk types of HPV are linked to different types of cancer, including: 

How does the HPV vaccine work?

The HPV vaccination protects against 4 types of HPV: 6, 11, 16 and 18. Types 16 and 18 are the cause of most cervical cancers in the UK (more than 70%) and HPV types 6 and 11 cause around 90% of genital warts. In addition some of the anal and genital cancers, and cancers of the head and neck, are also caused by HPV infection which the vaccine helps protect against.

HPV vaccination does not protect against other infections spread during sex, such as chlamydia, so it's still very important to practise safe sex and for girls to have regular cervical screening (smear test) from 25 years old, as this helps detect cell changes.

Why is the HPV vaccine given at such a young age?

HPV is very common and can be caught through any kind of sexual contact with another person who already has it. HPV infections can be spread by any skin-to-skin contact and are usually found on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals. This means the virus can be spread during any kind of sexual activity, including touching. 

The HPV vaccine works best if girls and boys get it before they come into contact with HPV. So getting the vaccine when recommended will help protect them during their teenage years and beyond. 

For more information please see:

After the vaccination is administered, the young person will be given a certificate with the date and name of vaccination received, along with information about potential side effects that the young person and parent / guardian should be aware of. The certificate should be kept in the young person’s health record (red) book as a record of vaccination.

Year 9 vaccinations

Diphtheria, Tetanus & Polio (3 in 1 vaccination) and Meningitis ACWY vaccinations

In year 9, your son or daughter will be due these vaccinations:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (Td/Ipv)  
  • Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY)

These vaccinations are given as two single injections.


Diphtheria is an infectious disease spread by bacteria or germs that live in the mouth, throat and nose of an infected person. It is easily passed to others through coughing and sneezing.


Tetanus is caused by a poison produced by a germ found in soil, dust and manure that can enter the body through a cut, wound or any break in the skin. Tetanus causes serious, painful spasms of muscles and can lead to "locking" of the jaw so a person cannot open his or her mouth, swallow, breath or move.


Paralytic polio is a virus that strikes children and adults and can cripple and kill. It is spread by contact with the faeces (bowel movement) of an infected person. 

After the vaccination is administered, the young person will be given a certificate with the date and name of vaccination received, along with information about potential side effects that the young person and parent / guardian should be aware of. The certificate should be kept in the young person’s health record (red) book as a record of vaccination.

For further information please see:

Meningitis ACWY

The Meningitis (Men) ACWY vaccine protects against four different strains (A, C, W and Y) of the meningococcal bacteria.  Meningitis is caused by the meninges (the lining of the brain) becoming infected and swollen. 

This can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning) which is very serious. Those who do recover can be left with serious long-term health problems, such as amputation, deafness, blindness, epilepsy and learning difficulties. 

The meningitis viruses are usually spread by people who carry the viruses or bacteria unknowingly in their nose or throat, but aren't ill themselves. This can be transmitted through sneezing, coughing, kissing, sharing utensils, toothbrushes etc. 

People aged 15 to 24 are particularly at risk of catching meningitis. The Meningitis ACWY vaccination is routinely offered to all young people in School Year 9. 

After the vaccination is administered, the young person will be given a certificate with the date and name of vaccination received, along with information about potential side effects that the young person and parent/ guardian should be aware of. The certificate should be retained in the young person’s health record (red) book as a record of vaccination.

Further education students aged 16-25 should contact their GPs to ensure they receive the vaccine if they have not had it in the last 10 years.         

For further information please see:

MMR vaccine

All young people should have received the MMR vaccine to protect them fully against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (usually received at 13 months of age and at pre-school age).

If your daughter/son has not received two doses of the MMR vaccine this can be received at your GP surgery or be given in school alongside their year 9 vaccinations. 


The virus can be spread very easily by airborne or droplet transmission. Symptoms include a rash, fever, cough and watery eyes. Measles also can cause pneumonia, brain damage, seizures or death. 


Spread by airborne or droplet transmission causes fever, headaches and swollen salivary glands under the jaw. May develop a mild meningitis. It can also result in permanent hearing loss and serious complications particularly in males. 


The virus usually causes mild sickness with fever, swollen glands and a rash. If a pregnant woman gets rubella, she can lose her baby, or the baby can be born blind, deaf, mentally retarded or with heart defects or other serious problems. 

If your child does receive the MMR in school, they will be given a certificate with the date and name of vaccination received, along with information regarding potential side effects that the young person and parent / guardian should be aware of. The certificate should be retained in the young person’s health record (red) book as a record of vaccination.

For further information please see:

All children aged 1 to 11 years in London need to be up to date with their childhood vaccination schedule to protect them against a range of preventable diseases. We are contacting the parents of all children whose records identify they are not up to date with their polio or MMR vaccinations.


We are using 3 different types of vaccines that all provide excellent protection against polio – they are already used in the routine programme and safely given to millions of children each year.

The only difference between the 3 vaccines is the other infections that they protect against. They all provide protection against polio, tetanus and diphtheria, but depending which vaccination your child is due, may also top up protection against Hib, whooping cough (pertussis) and hepatitis B. The vaccine offered depends on what vaccines in the childhood schedule your child has had so far.


The vaccine is a single injection that is administered into the thigh of young children or the upper arm of older children or adults. It is a live vaccine which means that it contains weakened versions of measles, mumps and rubella viruses. These have been weakened enough to produce immunity without causing disease.

The MMR vaccine gives long lasting protection with just 2 doses of the vaccine. The first dose is given at the age of 12 months and the second dose is given at around 3 years and 4 months, before starting school. Having both doses gives long lasting protection against measles, mumps and rubella. In adults and children over 18 months, the 2 doses can be given with a one month gap between them.

The vaccine(s) you will be offered will be the right one for your child’s stage in their vaccination schedule. You can view the routine childhood vaccination schedule at: NHS childhood vaccination schedule

Side effects

Your child may have some redness, swelling or tenderness in the arm where they had the injection, this will usually disappear in a few days. Rarely, a hard lump may appear in the same place but this will also resolve on its own, usually over a few weeks.

Occasionally, children may be unwell and irritable and develop a temperature and a headache.

You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines:

Those who cannot have vaccines

There are very few reasons why children cannot receive vaccines. If your child had a serious allergic reaction to a previous vaccination or to certain uncommon antibiotics (neomycin, polymyxin or streptomycin) you may want to check with your doctor.

What to do next

If you would like to book a vaccination appointment for your child who is due polio or MMR vaccinations

Further information

For more information, you can read these leaflets:

Please only contact the team for the borough in which your son / daughter attends school so that we can help you with your enquiry.

There is a language tool in the accessibility toolbar if English is not your first language.

Consent (written or verbal) must be obtained before starting any patient care - this includes the administration of vaccines. The HRCH Immunisation teams encourage parents or legal guardians to be involved in their son or daughter's care by discussing the vaccinations with them and by returning a completed vaccination form to the school. 

A parent/guardian letter providing vaccine information and the consent form are sent out from the school as the vaccinations are due. In addition, we ask for age appropriate information regarding the vaccine to be shown to the young people in assembly or tutor time in terms that a child can understand such as the nasal flu video. In secondary schools, the nurse will offer to attend the school to give a presentation on the planned vaccines.

We ask the school to provide parent mail reminders, leading up to the immunisation date, encouraging consent form return. However, we do acknowledge that despite our best efforts sometimes consent forms and parent mail reminders do not always reach families as they should. Therefore we kindly ask you to ensure your school has up to date contact details for your son/daughter, so you receive this important information.


Our ultimate aim is to prevent young people getting vaccine preventable diseases. Therefore, in secondary schools we will also invite down anyone who has not yet returned a consent form. This is so we can try to contact the parent / legal guardian to discuss the vaccine with the young person present.

In the absence of a signed consent form and being unable to contact the parent or guardian, we will assess the young person for self-consent. Not all young people will be competent - it is assessed on an individual basis by an immunisation nurse. The final decision to consent or refuse vaccination is the young person’s choice - we will not give a vaccination where it is not wanted by the young person.

To assess the young person’s ability to self-consent for the vaccine, we use the Fraser Competence guidelines. More details can be found online at: 

Voluntary – the decision to either consent or not to consent to treatment must be made by the person themselves, and must not be influenced by pressure from medical staff, friends or family 

Informed – the person must be given all of the information in terms of what the treatment involves, including the benefits and risks, whether there are reasonable alternative treatments, and what will happen if treatment doesn't go ahead

Capacity – the person must be capable of giving consent, which means they understand the information given to them and they can use it to make an informed decision.

Children under the age of 16 years can consent to their own treatment if they are believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what is involved in their treatment.

GDPR (data protection)

We share immunisation data with other relevant healthcare agencies, such as GPs, to ensure the young person's healthcare record is up to date.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) FAQs

See more information on personal records and consent to processing of data

IMPORTANT NOTE: This EXAMPLE form is provided to enable use of the language translation tool (Google translate). If you need a nasal flu consent form, please contact your primary school.


Parent / guardian to complete

Student details

First name:


Date of birth:

Gender (girl / boy):

NHS number (if known):

Home telephone number:

Parent / guardian mobile:

Email address:

Home address:



School name:

Year / Class:

GP name and address 

GP address


Immunisation history

Has your child been diagnosed with Asthma?

Yes / No

If Yes and your child is currently taking inhaled steroids (uses a preventer or regular inhaler), please enter the medication and daily dose (e.g. Budesonidine 100 micrograms, four puffs per day)

Please let the school know if your child has to increase his or her asthma medication after you have returned this form.

Please list any vaccinations given over the last 6 months:

Does your child have a disease or treatment that severely affects their immune system?
(e.g. treatment for leukaemia)

Yes* / No

Is anyone in the family currently having treatment that severely affects their immune system?
(e.g. they need to be kept in isolation)

Yes* / No

Does your child have a severe egg allergy?
(e.g. severe anaphylaxis to egg which has previously required intensive care)

Yes* / No

Is your child receiving salicylate therapy?
(i.e. aspirin)

Yes* / No

*If you answered Yes to any of the above, please give details:

On the day of the vaccination, please let the immunisation team know if your child has been wheezy in the past three days.

NB: The nasal flu vaccine contains products derived from pigs (porcine gelatine). There is no suitable alternative flu vaccine available for otherwise healthy children. More information for parents is available from

Consent for immunisation

YES, I consent for my child to receive the flu immunisation. I can confirm that I have parental responsibility.

NO, I do not consent to my child receiving the flu immunisation

If 'NO', please give reasons below:


Print name:                                               Signature of parent / guardian:                                        Date: