Vaccination for Young People

Vaccinations or ‘jabs’ can protect you from serious infections as well as illnesses such as some cancers. Some of these infections can be life-threatening.
Vaccines are safe and effective as they are thoroughly tested within clinical trials before being given to the public. They are also monitored closely after they are introduced. Doctors and scientists are closely involved in this process. 

Vaccines work by teaching your immune system how to create antibodies; these antibodies will then protect you when you are exposed to that infection. If you are unvaccinated, your body tries to produce antibodies when you get the infection; unfortunately, this takes time and unfortunately may not be quick enough to protect you. 

Some illnesses like measles are prevented if you are fully vaccinated against them (2 doses of the MMR vaccine provide full protection), whilst other vaccines significantly lessen the effects of the illness such as flu and COVID. 

This is why it is important to have your jabs which are part of the UK Vaccination Schedule.  Hopefully, your parents/carers made sure that you had all your childhood vaccines. If you are not sure if you have had all your vaccines, ask your parents or check with your GP surgery who will be able to look. If you have missed any of them, you are able to have most of them up until the age of 25 years old. 

You’ll find information about the various vaccines that you are likely to be offered below. For more information on all the vaccinations available, including ingredients and side effects, visit Oxford Vaccine Group.


The HPV vaccine is used to help protect against the Human Papilloma Virus.  HPV is known to cause several cancers, such as cervical, mouth, throat, anal, and genital cancers.

HPV is linked to 90% of cervical cancers and 5% of all cancers worldwide.

The HPV vaccine is offered to both girls and boys aged 12-13 years old and if offered normally during Year 8 for the first dose and Year 9 for the second dose.  As with other vaccinations, it is important to have both doses to ensure that you are properly protected.

For more information, click here.


The MenACWY vaccine is designed to give protection against four types of the meningococcal bacteria which causes severe sepsis(blood poisoning) and meningitis and is offered when you are in Years 9 and 10.

15-19 year olds are more at risk from meningococcal disease than any other age group (except the under 5s). This is because many of them mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their nose and throat without knowing it. The MenACWY vaccine not only protects you from getting infected but also provide herd protection by eradicating the bacteria from the back of your throat and stopping you from spreading it to others.

The vaccine does not contain any live bacteria, and it cannot cause meningococcal disease. For more information and the MenACWY vaccine, click here.

Teenage Booster Vaccine (Tetanus / Diphtheria / Polio)

The Teenage Booster contains vaccines for three separate diseases – Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio. This is not a live vaccine, so their cannot cause any of these diseases.

You will be offered this when you turn 14 years old. Some schools will offer this and will send details out to parents or carers to gain your consent. It is often given at the same time as the MenACWY vaccine discussed above.\

This is a vaccine that you will need to have for traveling to some areas around the world. More information about this can be found by clicking here.

Influenza (Flu)

The flu vaccine is safe and is offered annually to young people aged up to 13 years to help protect you from seriously ill from flu as well as reducing the risk of you spreading it to other people. If you are over 13 years of age but have a long-term health condition, you may also be offered the flu vaccine each year.

Many schools will offer to have your flu vaccination there, but if you are worried or wish to arrange your own, you can contact your GP practice.

For more information on the Flu Vaccine, click here.

Travel Vaccines

Some schools arrange trips abroad or you might be planning a gap year when you finish school. If you are travelling to places like Europe or North America, you may not need any additional vaccines but to travel to some other areas in the world, you are required to have some vaccines against specific diseases such as Hepatitis and Yellow Fever. This is because some countries unfortunately still have high rates of infections that we have been able to eradicate in the UK. This is also why it is really important that you are up to date with all your childhood vaccines. If you are not sure, ask your parents or carers or check with your GP practice. You can still get vaccinated before you travel.

To find out, can visit NHS Fit for Travel and Travel Health Pro for more details To ensure that you are protected, call into your GP surgery or visit ‘travel’ clinics where you can ask questions about what is required and how to get immunised against them.

For more information, click here.

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