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20th Feb 2024

First-year students can now avail of immunisation vaccine through schools

Jody Coffey


Parents should check their children’s school bags for the HSE consent forms

The HSE is advising parents of first-year secondary school students to avail of their immunisation vaccine.

The vaccine is one of the most effective ways in protecting children against harmful disease and will be administered through the HSE’s school immunisation programme this year. 

As part of the schools programme rollout, three vaccines will be offered free of charge.

Before the vaccines can be administered, parents are asked to complete the consent forms, which will be given to their children at school.

“First year students in secondary school are now bringing home immunisation consent packs. We ask parents to keep an eye out and check their child’s school bag if needed,” Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE National Immunisation Office, explains.

Dr Jessop adds that the form should be completed in a timely manner to avoid missing out on a chance to receive immunisation through the programme.

The consent forms will ask for details about their child, such as their date of birth and contact details, as well as their health and vaccination history.

Once these details have been provided, the consent box has been checked, and the form returned to their school, they will receive their vaccination when the HSE vaccination team visits.

Credit: Getty

There are three vaccines offered free of charge through the school’s programme

Dr Jessop reassures parents that it is ‘safe’ to receive all three vaccines at once, while also outlining the importance of receiving them.

“Vaccination is vitally important to protect children from preventable diseases such as whooping cough and meningitis amongst others.

“We know that meningitis can become very serious very quickly. We also know that HPV causes 1 in 20 cancers worldwide.”

The vaccines included through the free-of-charge immunisation programme include:

Tetanus, booster vaccine, (Tdap) – this vaccine protects your child from developing diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. 

Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) booster vaccine – this protects your child from potentially life-threatening meningococcal (meningitis and septicaemia) group A, C, W and Y infection.

HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine – this protects against almost all cases of cervical cancer, 7 out of 10 vaginal and 5 out of 10 vulval cancers, 9 out of 10 HPV related anal cancers and 9 out of 10 cases of genital warts.

However, the HSE takes into consideration that it may not be possible for some children to receive their vaccine at a school.

In this case, parents are encouraged and invited to attend a local clinic where these vaccines will be made available for students of the same age group who are in special schools or being home schooled.

For more information about the different vaccines and the school programmes visit the HSE website here or visit