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HSE school immunisation programme can protect children against harmful diseases

  • Secondary school immunisation programme has started nationwide
  • Look out for consent forms in schoolbags

Immunisation is one of the most effective ways of protecting your child against harmful diseases. The HSE is advising parents of first year students to make sure their child gets vaccinated through the HSE school immunisation programme this year.

Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE National Immunisation Office, explained, “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. A simple form needs to be completed and returned to the school as soon as possible to make sure they don’t miss out.

“You will be asked to provide details about your child, like their date of birth and contact details. You will also be asked some questions about your child’s health and their vaccination history. Don’t forget to complete the consent box.

“When the completed form is sent back to the school your child will receive their vaccination when the HSE vaccination team visits.”

There are three vaccines offered free of charge through the schools programme:

  1. Tetanus, booster vaccine, (Tdap) - this vaccine protects your child from developing diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. 
  2. Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) booster vaccine - this protects your child from potentially life-threatening meningococcal (meningitis and septicaemia) group A, C, W and Y infection.
  3. HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccinethe 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.

Dr Jessop continued, “It is safe to receive all three vaccines at once.  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 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. These vaccines are also available to students who are in special schools or are home schooled in the same age group.’’

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

Last updated on: 20 / 02 / 2024