A new School-Age Immunisation Service launches next month (1 August 2020), with a team of 40 specialist nurses, healthcare support workers and support staff providing childhood vaccinations to young people across Hampshire.
The service, which was previously part of the school nursing role, is now a dedicated, stand-alone service offering enhanced support to children (aged 4-16) across all Hampshire schools, as well as those children who are home educated. The team will also expand its work with eligible pupils in special schools, supporting young people up to their 25th birthday for the first time.
Representing an investment of more than £1.3million per year in children’s health by NHS England, the new service will work closely with education and other health professionals to help children remain healthy, signposting to other children’s health services if necessary. The team of immunisation nurses will work in partnership with children and their families to provide access to the full childhood immunisation programme - a key part of the UK Government’s ‘Healthy Child Programme’.
This will include the Seasonal Nasal Flu offered annually to children aged 4-12 (in special schools it will be offered to all children regardless of age); teenage boosters - for Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio and MenACWY - offered to all in Year 9 and above; HPV vaccines offered to girls and now boys too in year 8 (first dose) and year 9 (second dose); plus any catch-up childhood vaccinations like MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) for under-immunised children, particularly those in year R and year 6 at primary school.
Southern Health’s Immunisation Project Lead Nurse, Emma Franklin, explained: “We are delighted to be introducing our new dedicated School-Age Immunisation Service and look forward to working closely with schools and families to ensure children across Hampshire are protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses.
“We’re particularly pleased to be extending our remit in all special schools in the county, which should make it easier for parents to get their children vaccinated. They will no longer have to take their children out of school - which may be some distance from home - for their GP to immunise them. Another measure is the introduction of electronic consent forms to make access to the consent process easier for parents. Needless to say, we are constantly looking at ways to improve the service we offer and to remove any barriers to children receiving the vaccinations they need.”
Did you know? The overall aim of national immunisation programmes is to protect the population from vaccine-preventable illnesses and reduce the associated morbidity and mortality. This includes reducing the risk of individuals becoming a source of infection to others, particularly those who cannot be vaccinated either because they are too young or for medical reasons.
Immunisation is a highly cost-effective healthcare intervention which is estimated to save approximately three million lives a year worldwide. High immunisation rates are key to preventing the spread of infectious disease, complications and possible early death among individuals and to protecting the population’s health through both individual and herd immunity.