Year 7 and 8 immunisations at school

When your child is in year 7 or 8, they’re eligible for important free immunisations, which are given at most schools. Children at participating schools will bring home a consent form for you to read, sign and return to school before they are immunised.

What are the immunisations for?

The Tdap vaccine improves the protection children receive as babies against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (or pertussis). Protection against tetanus and diphtheria is long-lasting. Protection against whooping cough lasts about 5 years. The Tdap vaccine is given as one injection, usually in Year 7.

Tetanus – Ministry of Health(external link)

Diphtheria – Ministry of Health(external link) (external link)

Whooping cough (or pertussis) – Ministry of Health(external link)

The HPV vaccine protects against 9 strains of human papillomavirus responsible for cervical cancer and some other cancers, and genital warts. Protection is long-lasting. The HPV vaccine is given as 2 injections, spaced out over at least 6 months. This vaccine is usually offered in Year 8.

HPV vaccine – Ministry of Health(external link)

Cervical cancer – Ministry of Health(external link)

Genital warts – Ministry of Health(external link)

Who is eligible?

All children are eligible for the Tdap and HPV vaccines.

Check with your local school whether Tdap and HPV are delivered through the school based immunisation programme. In most parts of the country, both are provided through the school programme.  In parts of the South Island, only the HPV vaccine is provided through schools and Tdap is provided through local family doctors.

Will I be notified about school based immunisations?

Yes, parents need to fill out the consent form to say whether or not they consent to the vaccination, then sign the form and return it to school.

Going through the school process is the easiest way to get your child immunised, but you can choose to go to your doctor instead.

When will the school based immunisations take place?

Immunisations for HPV start at the beginning of the school year so that there is time to administer both doses during the year. Tdap immunisations usually occur later in the year as scheduling permits.

What if my child is away from school when the immunisations take place?

Your regional public health nurse will usually contact you if your child misses their vaccines at school. Depending on where you live, the missed dose might be given through your school, and an alternative date and time will be arranged for when your child can catch up on their missed vaccines.

Alternatively, your child can receive their vaccine through your doctor.

What if my child feels unwell after their immunisations?

The regional public health nurse will watch your child for 20 minutes after each immunisation. This is standard practice following any immunisation. The nurse will also give them a leaflet with information for children and their families following immunisation.

After your school immunisation – Health Ed(external link)

If you have any concerns, ring your family doctor. You can also call Healthline 0800 611 116(external link) day or night.

What about the rubella top up girls used to have at school?

Since 2001, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been given to boys and girls at ages 15 months and 4 years. If your child has not received two doses of MMR vaccine, they may not be protected against those diseases.  The vaccine is available free from your general practice for anyone born from 1 January 1969 who has not completed two doses.

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