Parents urged to take part in child-immunisation scheme

HSE programme to safeguard against diseases such as measles and whooping cough

The Health Service Executive has called on parents to continue to protect their children from preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, meningitis and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

It comes as the HSE immunisation programme commences in schools countrywide from September 27th.

Lucy Jessop, director of public health at the HSE National Immunisation Office, said schools will be sending home immunisation consent packs for first year students and junior infants.

"We would ask parents to keep an eye out for these and urge them to return these completed to the school, consenting to vaccination of their child. A parent or legal guardian can sign the consent form," said Dr Jessop.


“Vaccination is vitally important to protect children from preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough and meningitis amongst others.”

If a parent or guardian has consented for their child to receive 4-in-1, MMR [measles, mumps and rubella], HPV, Tdap [tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis] or MenACWY [meningococcal disease] since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic but didn’t get their child vaccinated due to restrictions or having to self-isolate/cocoon, they can still be vaccinated. They can contact the school team to arrange an appointment, details of which are available on the HSE website.

“No interval is needed between getting the Covid-19 vaccine and a school vaccine. We would like to assure parents that it is completely safe for your child to receive these vaccinations close together or even on the same day,” added Dr Jessop.

School vaccines are normally given in schools by HSE school vaccination teams. The HSE said its school vaccination programme may need to be done in a different venue or may be delayed because of Covid-19.

“The HSE will try to keep these changes to a minimum,” it said on Tuesday.

When a child is in junior infants, they will be offered two vaccines: the 4-in-1 booster to protect against diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis); and a second dose of the MMR vaccine.

All students entering first year of secondary school will be offered a Tdap non-live booster vaccine and a booster dose of the MenACWY non-live vaccine that protect teenagers from life-threatening meningococcal group A, C, W and Y infection.

The HPV non-live vaccine will also be offered and protects against almost all cases of cervical cancer.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times