HSE urges parents to protect their children by registering for school vaccinations
After a couple of years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HSE immunisation programme will commence in schools nationwide this month.
And parents are being urged to protect their children by registering for school vaccinations, both the ones offered to children in primary and secondary school.
Children who are eligible for vaccines will get immunisation consent forms sent home in their school bags, and parents will have to sign and return these to school as soon as possible.
Speaking of the HSE immunisation programme, which will kick off on the 26th of September, Dr Lucy Jessop, Consultant in Public Health Medicine – National Immunisations Lead, HSE National Immunisation Office, explains:
"Students will be bringing home immunisation consent packs if they are in first year of secondary school or in Junior Infants. We would ask parents to keep an eye out for these and urge them to return these completed to the school, consenting to vaccination of their child as soon as possible."
Prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases
Dr Jessop adds that while COVID-19 disrupted the annual school immunisation programmes, the HSE are now keen to achieve high levels of uptake for these programmes during the 2022/23 academic year to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
"We know 1 case of measles can cause an additional 12-15 cases and we know that meningitis can be very serious very quickly. We also know that HPV causes 1 in 20 cancers worldwide. Vaccination is vitally important to protect children from preventable diseases such as measles, and whooping cough."
Jessop explains that the majority of vaccines will be given on school premises but if this isn’t possible, the HSE will invite students and their parents to a local clinic.
What vaccines are given when?
Primary School - 4 in 1 and MMR vaccine
When your child is in Junior Infants, he or she will be offered two vaccines: the 4-in-1 booster to protect against diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis); and a second dose of the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.
Learn more about the 4 in 1 and MMR school programme here.
Second Level School - HPV, Tdap and MenACWY vaccines
All students entering first year of secondary school will be offered a tetanus, low dose diphtheria and low dose pertussis (whooping cough), (Tdap) non-live booster vaccine and a booster dose of the Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) non-live vaccine, which protect teenagers from life-threatening meningococcal group A, C, W and Y infection.
The HPV (Human Papillomavirus) non-live vaccine will also be offered. The HPV vaccine protects against almost all cases of cervical cancer, seven out of 10 vaginal and five out of 10 vulval cancer, nine out of 10 HPV-related anal cancers and nine out of 10 cases of genital warts. Two doses of the HPV vaccine are needed for full protection, a second dose will be given 6 months after the initial do
In Ireland, all the recommended vaccines given in the school's immunisation programme are free, and parents can access information about the vaccination programmes at immunisation.ie