Achieving high levels of immunity against vaccine preventable diseases is vital to reduce the spread of infection and prevent outbreaks.
High levels of immunity can result in herd immunity, whereby the protection from immunisation programmes extends to individuals who cannot be vaccinated for a variety of reasons.
Education and childcare settings have a vital role to play in supporting the routine immunisation programme by sharing information with parents and caregivers at key points and encouraging them to have their child vaccinated. It is also important to encourage staff and parents to take up all the vaccinations they are eligible for.
A full list of immunisations is available here:
Immunisations for children under 5 are delivered by GP’s. Settings can support childhood immunisations by:
- asking parents of new starters if their children are up to date with their immunisations
- signposting them to their GP to check they are up to date and receive outstanding vaccinations
- Distributing information about seasonal vaccination campaigns such as Flu
School Aged Children 5-19
Immunisations for children aged 5 and over are delivered by the School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS). This service is provided by Vaccination UK. Schools will be contacted by the service prior to their visit
There have been some concerns raised by schools around General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Please note that GPDR does not apply in this circumstance and schools have a duty to share this information with SAIS
You can help with this:
Ensure that all of your staff are aware of the date of the immunisations clinic and don't book trips / visits for that day
- Make sure consent letters for parents are sent out, followed by timely reminders, both in email and paper form.
- Evidence shows that sending electronic (text, email, social media) information and reminders to parents later in the evening (as opposed to during the day) is more effective.
- Share information with parents and children and display the posters.
- Remind parents of the date of the clinic the week before. (Template Letter)
- For further general advice about supporting immunisations in please follow this link:
If you need to contact the SAIS team:
It is important that all staff are up to date with their vaccinations.
All staff should be encouraged to check their immunisation records and contact their GP practice if they are unsure if they are up to date or if they need to catch up.
COVID-19 vaccination -
All eligible staff should be encouraged to take up their vaccination.https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/
Seasonal Flu -
encourage all eligible staff to take up their offer of the autumn flu vaccination. As the flu strains vary each year it is important to remind them that a new vaccination is required each year. You may wish to support staff who are not eligible for a free NHS vaccination to purchase one. These are available from most pharmacies for a small cost.
Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) - all staff should make sure that they have had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against measles, mumps and rubella (sometimes called German Measles), which are viral infections that can quickly spread and cause outbreaks.
Measles is one of the most infectious diseases known. It can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, and on rare occasions, long-term disability or death. Symptoms include a high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red-brown rash. You can catch measles if you spend 15 minutes with someone who has the disease. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent it.
This short video gives a very clear overview of measles:
A new video from Dr.Colin Campbell, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, who explains how infectious the measles virus is, who can have the MMR vaccine and why the World Health Organization (WHO) has set an MMR vaccination target of 95% of the population.
Rubella caught in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or cause very serious harm to the unborn baby, so all people who are considering a pregnancy should make sure they are up to date with their 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is available for free on the NHS from your GP with no upper age limit.
Practical ways to increase the uptake of immunisations
Behavioural insights research has found that using texts and emails as reminders rather than apps or platforms is more effective.
Right timing of sharing messages is important – there is evidence to say that sending reminders in the early evening as opposed to during the day is more effective.
Being aware of digital poverty is also vital – are all families able to receive emails/links etc? If not, would a verbal or printed reminder be better?