A range of vaccinations and screening tests are provided on the NHS at various stages of life. For children aged 5-11 these are provided free of charge by a GP or practice nurse. You should receive appointments though the post or details from the school nurse.
Why vaccinate children?
Vaccines are an important and fairly simple way to protect your child from a range of serious conditions and sometimes life threatening diseases. Although some parents find watching their child have an injection upsetting, vaccinations are quick, safe and effective. Once your child is vaccinated against certain diseases their body can fight it off, particularly if they come into contact another child who has not been vaccinated.
What is ‘screening’?
Screening is when certain tests or assessments such as hearing, sight, growth etc are done to make sure your child is developing as expected and identify any concerns or issues early on. If health issues are picked up earlier it means they can be dealt with sooner and are less likely to affect your child’s health or social and educational development.
What do they need and when?
A full list of vaccines and screening for children age 5-11 is given within the ‘Health Protection’ pages of this website – see the suggested links at the bottom of this page under, ‘Have you thought about…’
Speak to your child’s GP about vaccines and screening tests offered to your child through the NHS and at various ages.
If your child has missed any of their routine vaccinations or screening tests it is possible to ‘catch up’. For further advice about this speak with a school nurse and/or contact your GP practice.
Preparing for vaccines and aftercare
Here are some quick, easy tips to help you prepare your child for an injection and look after them when you get home.
- They should wear loose fitting clothing with sleeves and trouser legs that can easily be rolled up.
- Allow plenty of time for your appointment to reduce stress which your child will pick up on.
- Try to remain calm and matter-of-fact, your child will pick up on any anxiety.
- If you do not wish to see the injection yourself, you may want to ask someone to go with you or a member of staff to hold your child. It is usually done quickly without the child even seeing anything. If someone else is taking your child for vaccination they must have a signed letter from the person who has parental responsibility with them.
- If you are able to explain what’s happening, try to put it across in a positive way however it’s best not tell your child ‘it won’t hurt’ - if it is uncomfortable you may have issues taking them for vaccinations or medical treatment in the future.
- Have some paracetamol or ibuprofen ready for when you get home, your child may develop a slight fever afterwards and this will help bring down their temperature. Always follow guidance given on packaging.
- Serious allergic reactions to vaccinations are rare. If it does happen, it's usually within minutes. Health professionals are trained to deal with these reactions and children recover completely with treatment. Tell the nurse before the injection about any bad reactions your child has had previously.
- Children rarely faint after a vaccination. If your child is prone to fainting, ask if they can have the vaccination lying down.
Travel vaccines – For information about vaccines required for travelling abroad you should ask at your GP practice.
Details and lists of vaccines and screening for all ages is given within the ‘Health Protection’ pages of this website – see the suggested links at the bottom of this page under, ‘Have you thought about…’
The NHS Choices website has straight forward, up to date information about this and all other health topics. If you have any further questions or concerns, speak with the school nurse and/or your GP.
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