When your child is in 1st year of secondary school, they will get a tetanus and low dose diphtheria and low dose pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccine.
This vaccine is given by a HSE doctor or nurse to students in First year of second level school in the school.
The HSE school vaccination programme may need to be done in a different venue or may be delayed because of COVID-19. The HSE will try to keep these changes to a minimum.
If a student misses that immunisation in school, the HSE will arrange for the student to be vaccinated at a HSE clinic.
In Ireland, all the recommended childhood vaccines given in the schools immunisation programme are free.
We have compared the possible complications of developing Diphtheria, Tetanus, or Whooping Cough with the possible side effects of getting the Tdap vaccine.
||Effects of Disease
||Side Effects of the Vaccine
|Diphtheria- contagious bacteria that is spread by close contact with an infected person or carrier and cause a sore throat and severe breathing difficulties.
If 1000 people get diphtheria
The bacteria release a toxin (poison) which can lead to paralysis and heart failure.
If 1000 people get vaccinated
- 100 will have discomfort, redness and swelling where the injection was given or have a fever.
|Tetanus - bacteria from soil which release a toxin and causes painful muscle spasms, convulsions and lockjaw.
If 1000 people get tetanus:
The risk is greatest for the very young or old.
If 1000 people are immunised:
- 100 will have discomfort, redness and swelling where the injection was given or will have a fever.
|Pertussis (Whooping Cough) - contagious bacteria that spread by close contact with an infected person and cause a "Whooping" cough and vomiting. The diseases can last up to three months.
If 1,000 people get whooping cough:
- 2 will die from pneumonia or brain damage (almost all deaths are in children under the age of 6 months)
- 10 will have fits (15 if under 6 months old)
- 1 will get encephalitis (2 if under 6 months old);
- 50 will get pneumonia (100 if under 6 months old)
- 200 will need to go into hospital
If 1000 people are immunised:
- 100 will have discomfort, redness and swelling where the injection was given or will have a fever
4 in 10,000 will cry for more than three hours after immunisation; and
1 in 10,000 will have a convulsion (fit).
Giving COVID-19 vaccines with vaccines included in the schools immunisation programme
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) say that other vaccines can be given with COVID-19 vaccines. A gap is not needed between COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccines offered as part of the school vaccination programme.
If other vaccines are being given at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines, if possible they should be given in different limbs.
The following information materials are available for parents of children in First Year of secondary schools.
The leaflet for this programme is translated into the following languages (Arabic, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Ukrainian) and is available here.
Post Vaccination Advice
The vaccine used in the school programme is called Boostrix. It is manufactured by GSK. The licensed documents for each vaccines the Summary of Product Characteristics and the Patient Information Leaflet are available from the HPRA Website.
For further information please visit the following
If you have any other queries please contact the schools immunisation programme office in your area.
The following information materials are available for healthcare professionals carrying out this programme.
Click on the link you require to download the document.
This page was updated on 4 May 2022