Young people in school year 9 across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are being offered the chance to boost their protection against serious diseases this term with two routine teenage vaccinations, given by trained immunisation nurses from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s School Aged Immunisation Service.

The two vaccines available are the 3-in-1 teenage booster (also known as the tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccine) and the meningitis ACWY vaccine, which protects against meningitis and septicaemia (also known as blood poisoning). They are given to young people in school year 9, aged 13 to 14, every year as part of the School Immunisation Service’s annual vaccination schedule in schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Older students who need either of the vaccinations can also have them during the team’s visit. Parents and carers with eligible children are asked to fill out the online consent decision forms sent out by schools, as soon as possible.

Both vaccines, which are given as a quick injection into the upper arm, do not contain any alcohol or gelatine.

The 3-in-1 teenage booster tops up the protection from vaccines most children have   when they are younger, including three vaccines as a baby and a fourth between 3 – 5 years old. Having the full five doses of tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccines will allow the young person to build up and keep their immunity against the diseases into adulthood.

The meningitis ACWY vaccine protects against meningococcal bacteria types A, C, W and Y that can cause meningitis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the brain.

Before having the vaccine, young people and their parent or carer are encouraged to watch a new, gaming-themed animated video on YouTube, What you need to know about the 3-in-1 teenage booster and MenACWY vaccinations.

Marie Butterworth, clinical lead nurse for the School Aged Immunisation Service, said: “We’ve worked with young people to put together a teen-friendly animation that helps them to easily understand how the vaccines help to create antibodies to protect themselves and make sure it’s ‘game over’ for the diseases. Both vaccines are free, safe and offer effective long-lasting protection. It’s important to have these vaccinations as the diseases can be very dangerous if contracted, and in some cases can lead to death.

“We know that some young people might feel a little bit nervous about having an injection. We want to reassure you that all our immunisation nurses are very kind and experienced. There are lots of things they do to support and help keep young people calm on the day. For example, we can arrange to vaccinate a young person in a quiet area or distract them while the immunisation takes place.”

There can be some minor side-effects following the vaccinations, such as a sore arm. Rarer side effects may include a slight fever, headache, feeling sick and swollen glands. Following the vaccination, a trained healthcare professional from the service will provide aftercare advice.

Marie added: “In order to help us to prepare for our visit to your child’s school, we ask that parents and carers make sure they fill out the consent form as soon as possible. If you can, we’d encourage you to have a conversation with your child and fill out the form together. Even if you do not want your child to have a vaccine, please let us know by filling out the form.

“If we do not receive a parent or carer consent decision, we may offer the young person the chance to self-consent to having the vaccine on the day.”

More information about the vaccine and consent form can be found on the letter sent to parents and carers by their child’s school.

Parents or carers who need any help or have any questions, can contact the School Aged Immunisation Service on 0300 300 0007 or e-mail .