Coronavirus and the School based Immunisation Programme

The school based immunisation program is continuing whilst schools are closed. The Immunisation Team are delivering the HPV vaccination to children in Yr8 & Yr9 and you will receive further correspondence from your child’s school regarding any changes to the planned session. Where possible, the session will be held in school on the same date, using an appointment system. On occasions, it may be necessary to change the venue or date of a session. You will be informed via school if this is the case.

Any child who misses this session, will have a second opportunity to receive their vaccinations when the Immunisation Team return to school later in the academic year, or at a Community based immunisation clinic.

Vaccinations for Children who are educated at home

Children who are receiving their education at home will be offered vaccinations at a community based clinic.  These clinics are held at different locations across the County, they run concurrently with the school based programme. If you wish to arrange for your child to receive their vaccinations please contact the immunisation team at  ImmunisationTeam@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk or call 07920254400 to provide your consent and to find out when/where clinics are to book into.

Postponement of scheduled immunisations sessions

Immunisation sessions are usually planned several months in advance and only rescheduled in rare circumstances.

Prior to moving the immunisation session to a different date, Oxford Health will undertake a full risk assessment and will consult with Public Health England or NHS England for advice as appropriate. Oxford Health apologise for  the rare occasions when we will have to postpone an immunisation session, and please be assured our priorities are to deliver a professional and effective service, keeping everyone safe.

If you wish to speak to someone regarding your child’s immunisations please call 07920254400 or email the immunisation team administrator at ImmunisationTeam@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

Covid Vaccinations for healthy 5-11yr olds

Covid vaccinations for healthy 5-11yrs old will currently not be delivered in Oxfordshire schools by the OHFT School Aged Immunisation Service.

To find out where the vaccine is available or if you have any questions regarding the vaccination, please email bobcovid.schoolimmsqueries@nhs.net or telephone 119.

Common questions

Why are vaccines important?

As children grow, they’re exposed to many infections and diseases.

Most of which will only cause mild illness and distress, but despite huge medical advances, some can still cause severe illness, disability and at times, death.

Developing effective vaccines has led to a huge decrease in childhood deaths and the benefit of immunisation is that your child has the best possible protection against many dangerous diseases and infections.

“The two public health interventions that have had the greatest impact on the world’s health are clean water and vaccines.” World Health Organisation

What we do

If your child/ren is/are educated at home, please contact the Immunisation Team to ensure we have your details and can keep you informed of the vaccination programme for your child.  Children educated at home will be offered vaccinations as they become due at countywide clinics. Once you have made contact, we will, as vaccinations become due send you a letter with dates and venues of upcoming clinics.  This letter will also provide you with details of how to find more information about the vaccines and information about the diseases for which they offer protection.    Should parents wish to discuss these vaccinations, you are invited to speak to a dedicated member of the Immunisation team on 07920254400 or email us at: ImmunisationTeam@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.

We will no longer be sending out paper consent forms, therefore it is important that you complete the form online promptly so that your child is able to receive their vaccination. If you are having any difficulty with completing the on-line consent form, please contact your nearest school health nurse office listed below and they will assist or call the Immunisation Team Office on 07920 254400.

Contact details for Oxfordshire School Health Nurse’s
Abingdon

Tel: 01865 904890

Banbury Tel: 01865 904234 Bicester

Tel: 01869 604095

Didcot

Tel: 01235 515503

Oxford City Office

Tel: 01865 904225

 

Wallingford

Tel: 01865 904845

 Wantage Office

Tel: 01865 901586

 

Witney

Tel: 01865 901295

The Immunisation Team Office 07920 254400

If your child is unable to receive his or her immunisation due to absence or for another reason, a catch-up session will be arranged in school and you will be advised of this date.

If your child has missed previous immunisations due to absence or are home educated or not in mainstream education, they can still receive their immunisations from us: call the Immunisation Team Office on 07920 254400.

It is important that your child receives all doses of the required vaccines to gain optimum protection. If you are unsure whether your child has received all their childhood immunisations, please refer to your child’s health record (the red book) or contact your GP surgery: they should have a record of what your child has received

Unique school codes - consent forms

Please find a list of school codes below which you will need when completing an online Consent Form for all immunisations delivered in school.

Please ensure you use the correct code so your child’s Consent Form is attributed to the correct school and they appear on the correct school list.

Please do not copy and paste but type in when prompted.

Vaccinations

We currently offer School Children the following vaccinations in school.  Home Educated children will be offered these at a Community based clinic:

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
    • This vaccine protects against 4 types of HPV, 6,11,16,18. Types 16 and 18 are the cause of most cervical cancers in the UK (more than 70%).
    • From September 2019, all girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years will be routinely offered the first HPV vaccination when they’re in school Year 8.
    • The second dose is normally offered 6 to 12 months after the first (in school Year 8 or Year 9).
    • The first immunisation will be given on a specified date in school and you will be notified by email when the second dose is due. If your child moves to a school outside Oxfordshire before receiving their second dose, please contact your local School Health Nurse Immunisation Service to arrange for it to be given.
Meningitis ACWY (Men ACWY)
  • The Men ACWY vaccine is given in Year 9, usually Term 4.
  • It protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W and Y.
  • The course consists of one injection given in the upper arm. It is usually given at the same time as the Tetanus/Diphtheria/Polio vaccine.
  • For further Information, see NHS Choices
Tetanus/Diphtheria /Polio (Td/IPV)

Tetanus, Diphtheria and inactivated Polio Vaccine (TDiP) BOOSTER

Young people in Yr 9 or aged around 14 yrs old are routinely offered the TDiP booster. This booster would be the 5th and final dose, with the first 4 doses being given at around 8, 12, 16 weeks and 3 years 4months. You can check if your child is up to date by looking in the red book, contacting your GP or calling the Child Health Information System (CHIS) on 0300 561 1851. If you child has missed the 5th dose, please contact immunisationteam@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk or call 07920254400.

  • The fifth Tetanus/Diphtheria/Polio booster is given in Year 9. It is usually given at the same time as the Men ACWY vaccine in Term 4.
  • You need a total of five doses given in accordance with the UK schedule to build lifelong immunity to these diseases. If your child has already had five doses and you have moved to the UK from another Country, your Child may require a sixth dose. Please contact your child’s school nurse or our immunisation team on 01865 904339 to discuss whether your child needs a sixth dose.
  • For further Information, see NHS Choices.
Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR)
  • The MMR vaccine is given to children when they are around 13 months old, and again at 3 years 4 months.
  • We will remind parents of all children in Year 2 to check that their child has received both doses of MMR, and we will invite parents to arrange an immunisation appointment if either dose is outstanding.
  • In Year 9, we also offer further opportunity for older children who may have missed or only partially completed the MMR course.
  • It is important that both doses of MMR are given and that your child receives the combined vaccine (MMR) to gain the best protection. If your child has received separate measles, mumps and rubella injections, they should still have the two doses of MMR.
  • For further information, see NHS Choices.

Flu immunisations

Flu is an unpleasant and occasionally serious illness which can lead to children spending days in bed rather than being at school and participating in everyday family life. It can have serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating not only protects them but also those around them including those who are vulnerable. This is even more important now with Covid still present.


Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will deliver the school flu vaccination programme across Oxfordshire between September and January.

The flu vaccine is now available in schools for all children aged four to 16. In previous years the school programme included primary school children, and for the first time in 2020 it was extended to year 7s. This year it is available in schools to all children in reception to year 11.

The vaccine will be offered as a quick and painless nasal spray and parental and carer consent will be sought.

If you have an appointment in one of our catch-up clinics and have not completed a consent form, please click here. Each school has its own school code which is needed to complete the online consent process. Please see more details here.

Letters will be sent to parents from their child’s school outlining how and when our team will be attending. Parents will not need to accompany their children when they have their flu vaccination.

Children educated at home are also eligible for the vaccine. Please contact flu.schoolnurses@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk to arrange a clinic appointment.

Preschool children over 2 years old will be offered the immunisation by their GP surgery.

 

If you have questions about the flu vaccine or anything health related, please speak to your school health nurse.

Alternatively, please call the Oxford School Health Nurses.

Contact details for Oxfordshire School Health Nurses
Abingdon

Tel: 01865 904890

Banbury Tel: 01865 904234 Bicester

Tel: 01869 604095

Didcot

Tel: 01235 515503

Oxford City Office

Tel: 01865 904225

Wallingford

Tel: 01865 904845

 Wantage Office

Tel: 01865 901586

Witney

Tel: 01865 901295

The Immunisation Team Office 07920 254400 / flu.schoolnurses@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

Leaflets

Protect yourself against flu

This leaflet is aimed at children and young people in secondary school (years 7 to 11) and is available in translated languages and alternative formats.

Protecting your child against flu

This leaflet is for parents, guardians and carers of primary school and Year 7 secondary school-aged children. It explains which children are eligible for a flu vaccination, as well as describing the disease and the nasal flu vaccine. It is available in translated languages and alternative formats.

Posters

5 reasons to vaccinate your child (11-17 years)

This poster is aimed at the parents of secondary school aged children and is available in translated languages and alternative formats.

5 reasons to vaccinate your child (0-11 years)

This poster is aimed at the parents of pre-school and primary school aged children and is available in translated languages and alternative formats.

Please see below for a list of commonly asked questions. If you have further questions please contact your local School Health Nurse Team or the Immunisation team or alternatively please email us.

The nasal spray and faith groups

The nasal flu vaccine uses pork-based gelatine as a stabiliser, however this gelatin is highly purified and broken down.

What is flu like for children?

Children and adults get the same flu symptoms. These symptoms are worse than a normal cold and include:

  • Fever
  • chills
  • aching muscles and joints
  • headaches
  • extreme tiredness.

Symptoms can also include a stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat.

Symptoms can last between two and seven days. Some children have a very high temperature, sometimes without other obvious symptoms, and need to go to hospital for treatment.

Complications from flu can include:

  • bronchitis
  • pneumonia
  • painful middle ear infection
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea.

For children with specific long-term medical conditions (chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease; diabetes; immuno-suppression; or no fully working spleen) getting flu can be even more serious as it’s likely to make their medical condition much worse.
In severe cases (which are very rare), flu can lead to disability and even death.

How does flu spread?

The flu virus spreads through the air when people cough and sneeze without covering their nose and mouth. Other people then breathe in the virus directly or pick it up by touching surfaces where it has landed, and touch their eyes, nose and mouth.

Because young children don’t always cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, flu is passed on very quickly among this age group. Anyone who is in close contact with a young child should ensure good personal hygiene, such as washing their hands.

Why do we need to protect children and adults from flu?

Children who get flu usually pass it on to family members: the flu virus spreads quickly, and easily to other children and adults. It causes an unpleasant illness which can be serious, and it may lead to days spent ill in bed rather than being at school, work or participating in family life.

Who is being offered the vaccine?

The vaccine is now offered in schools (from September 2021) to all children from reception to Year 11.  This includes children educated at home and children who attend special schools.

Children aged two, three and four years who are not yet in primary school will be offered the vaccine by their GP practice.

You can find out more information our vaccinations in non-school places by emailing: flu.schoolnurses@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.

Where and when will my child get the vaccine?
  • Flu vaccines will be administered between September and January
  • Children aged 2-4 years and not yet in primary school, will be offered the flu vaccine at the GP practice
  • All children in school years reception and Year 11 will be offered the flu vaccine at a school session
  • Home educated children will be offered a clinic appointment

Children with certain medical conditions are offered the flu vaccine each year from their GP and in this case you can choose if you would like your child to be vaccinated in school or at the GPs.

Enter short summary

For most children, the flu vaccine is given via the nose, through a spray into each nostril: it is not an injection, and the process is quick and painless. There’s no need to sniff or inhale the vaccine: only a tiny amount is sprayed into each nostril.

An alternative form of the flu vaccine may be suitable for children who are unable to have the nasal spray. These children will be offered a flu vaccine as an injection in the upper arm by your GP surgery or at one of our Catch Up clinics.

The following easy read document will help children understand the nasal flu spray immunisation.

What if my child is ill on the day?

If your child is very unwell (they have a fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, for example), or if your child’s asthma has worsened (with more wheezing or increased use of their inhalers three days before their immunisation), they should not have the vaccine. Please make sure you have informed school and your nearest School Health Nurse Team.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your school nurse team. Otherwise there is no reason to delay.

What if my child misses their immunisation?

If your child is in primary school and misses their immunisation at school, please contact your nearest school health nurse team to book into a catch up clinic. You can also email us with any queries.

Contact details for Oxfordshire School Health Nurses
Abingdon

Tel: 01865 904890

Banbury Tel: 01865 904234 Bicester

Tel: 01869 604095

Didcot

Tel: 01235 515503

Oxford City Office

Tel: 01865 904225

 

Wallingford

Tel: 01865 904845

 Wantage Office

Tel: 01865 901586

 

Witney

Tel: 01865 901295

I've heard that the vaccine is live. Does this mean that my child will get flu?

No, the virus in the vaccine has been weakened so that it doesn’t cause flu. It helps your child build up immunity to flu, in the same way as a natural infection (but without the severe symptoms). Flu viruses are constantly changing – the strains may be different each year and are selected to offer the best protection each flu season. The flu vaccine should start to protect most children about 10 to 14 days after they receive their immunisation.

Does my child need a second dose?

Almost all children will only need one dose of the nasal spray vaccine. However, if your child is under 9 years old, has a long-term medical condition and is getting the flu vaccine for the first time, they may need a second dose (4 weeks after the first) to make sure their immunity has fully built up. You will be informed if this is the case for your child and asked to make an appointment with your GP surgery to receive the second dose.

Are there any reasons why my child shouldn't have the nasal (nose) spray vaccine?

There are very few children who cannot have the nasal spray vaccine, and these children will be offered an injection in the upper arm which will be provided by your GP surgery or at one of our catch-up clinics.

Children who are severely immuno-suppressed (unable to fight off most infections) should not have the nasal spray vaccine. Children who are severely immuno-suppressed include those:

  • whose immune system is suppressed because they are undergoing treatment for a serious condition such as a transplant or cancer
  • who have any condition which affects the immune system, such as severe primary immunodeficiency
  • who are taking regular high doses of oral steroids

It is important that children with Asthma are protected against Flu. However, the nasal vaccine may not be suitable for some children with severe asthma who require regular oral steroids or high dose inhaled steroids to control their asthma or who have previously required admission to intensive care for treatment of their asthma. Please seek advice from your GP or child’s asthma specialist.

Also, children should not have the nasal spray vaccine if:

  • They have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, or any ingredients in it
  • They are undergoing salicylate treatment (taking aspirin).
  • Contact with someone who is very severely immunocompromised (for instance, bone marrow transplant patients requiring isolation) is likely or unavoidable (for example, household members)
Egg allergy

Children with an egg allergy can safely have the nasal spray vaccine, unless they have had a life-threatening reaction to eggs (or products containing eggs) that required intensive care.

Asthma

The nasal spray vaccine may not be suitable for some children with severe asthma who require regular oral steroids to control their asthma or who have previously required admission to intensive care for treatment of their asthma. Please seek advice from your GP or child’s asthma specialist.

It is important that you let school and the School Nurse team know if your child at the time the immunisation is due has in the previous 72hrs had increased wheezing and/or needed additional bronchodilator treatment either oral or inhaled.

Contact details for Oxfordshire School Health Nurses
Abingdon

Tel: 01865 904890

Banbury Tel: 01865 904234 Bicester

Tel: 01869 604095

Didcot

Tel: 01235 515503

Oxford City Office

Tel: 01865 904225

 

Wallingford

Tel: 01865 904845

 Wantage Office

Tel: 01865 901586

 

Witney

Tel: 01865 901295

Pork gelatine

The nasal spray vaccine contains a small trace of pork gelatine. Gelatine is a common and essential ingredient in many medicines, including some vaccines. Many faith groups, including Muslim and Jewish communities have approved the use of gelatine-containing vaccines. It is, however, an individual choice whether to receive the nasal spray vaccine and we recognise that there will be different opinions within different communities. The nasal spray is a much more effective vaccine than the injection in children.

Will there be side-effects of the vaccine?

As with all medicines, side effects to the flu vaccine are possible but usually mild and may include a headache and muscle aches.

Some, but not all, children may experience a runny or blocked nose following the nasal spray. Less common side effects include a nosebleed after the nasal spray.

The vaccine is absorbed very quickly so, even if your child gets a runny nose or sneezes immediately after the spray, there’s no need to worry that it hasn’t worked.

For more information on the side effects of the vaccine please read the patient information leaflet (external link).

Is the vaccine safe?

Before they can be used, all medicines (including vaccines) are tested for safety and effectiveness. Once they are in use, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored.

The nasal spray flu vaccine has been used successfully and safely for several years in the USA and has been given safely to hundreds of thousands of children in the UK.

Will the vaccine interfere with my child's natural immune system?

No, the vaccine helps children to build up immunity in the same way as a natural infection with flu, but without the severe symptoms.

Will my child be protected for life when they've had this vaccine?

No. Flu viruses are constantly changing, and a different vaccine is made each year to continue to protect against the new viruses. Next year’s vaccine may protect against different strains of the viruses to this year’s vaccine. This is why the flu vaccine is offered every year during autumn/winter and we recommend children are vaccinated every year.

How effective is the vaccine?

During the last 10 years, the flu vaccine has generally been a good match for the circulating strains of flu, even though it is not possible to predict exactly which strains will circulate each year. Being immunised is the best protection available against an unpredictable virus that can cause severe illness.

What if I change my mind?

If you change your mind you can alter your consent form by accessing the web portal again and amending the information provided until it closes, usually two weeks before the immunisation session in school. After this time please contact your local school nurse team. If you wish to withdraw consent, you will need to follow this up in writing. If the school session has passed and you would like to have your child immunised, you may still be able to book into a ‘catch up’ clinic. Please contact your local school nurse team to discuss further

Where can I find more information?

You can talk to your school nurse team listed here or GP, or go to the NHS website.

Where can I report suspected side effects?

You can report any suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme.
This can be done online by visiting the Yellow Card website, or by calling the Yellow Card hotline on 0808 100 3352 (available Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm).

Page last reviewed: 5 August, 2022