The two public health interventions that have had the greatest impact on the world’s health are clean water and vaccines (World Health Organisation)
Immunisation is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease. This is usually by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccinations stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments (World Health Organisation)
A programme of routine childhood immunisations is delivered to all children. This programme commences when a baby is 8 weeks old and vaccinations are then offered at different stages in their childhood to protect them against disease. For school aged children the vaccination programme is:- • Nasal Flu vaccination offered in Reception, and years 1, 2, 3 and 4 • HPV – Protects against the Human Papilloma Virus. This commences in year 8, two doses 6 – 24 months a part. • DTP – (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio) and Men ACWY (Meningococcal ACWY) currently given in year 10 Being able to deliver these immunisations in the school setting allows for an increased uptake. Last academic year 2015/16 in Hertfordshire, the school health immunisation service delivered over 80% of the HPV and DTP/Men ACWY. Alongside the routine immunisation programme, it may be necessary to deliver another immunisation in response to an increase in a disease. This was done in the academic year 2015/16 where Men ACWY was offered to year 11 pupils as part of a catch up programme due to an increased number of cases of meningococcal W disease. An uptake of 74% was achieved.
Immunisation protects not only the person immunised, but also people in the community. The Nasal Flu Vaccination has shown to have a positive impact on flu levels in the community. This has resulted in fewer GP consultations, attendance at emergency departments and hospital admissions. Importantly, it also reduces absenteeism from school for both pupils and staff. To organise and deliver these vaccinations in the school setting takes a lot of planning. However we would not be able to do this without the support and help of the schools.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all schools for their co-operation in allowing us to come in and deliver these vaccinations. You are helping to contribute