Berkshire Healthcare FAQs about COVID Vaccinations for 12-15 Year Olds

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Slough Borough Council's COVID Schools Programme Officer, Heather Cook on behalf of Berkshire Healthcare. This is for the attention of all schools to share with families.

Berkshire Healthcare is the responsible provider of the School-aged immunisation service, and has been delivering immunisations across Berkshire schools for a number of years.

Below is a summary of answers to some FAQs dated 27/09/21. 

School Involvement in the Process of Consent

Although school staff are asked to arrange and coordinate the arrival of students and year groups their responsibility ends there. The nurses regularly assess the ability of individual young people to understand the benefits and risks of vaccinations. Even when parental consent has been provided, the nurse retains a professional responsibility to ensure the young person knows what has been consented to and is a willing to receive the vaccination.

No-one is coerced into having the vaccine, for consent to be legal it must be voluntary. Our nurses are clear on the law on consent for young people, and assessing Gillick competence. The individual is advised of possible (common and less common side effects and how to safely manage of Covid illness in (lay terms) and the benefits and risks of receiving/not receiving the vaccine. The nurse will commence the process of consent with a general discussion with the student to ascertain their level of understanding.

After Effects

The digital consent form captures all the benefits and risks of vaccination, and once the vaccination has been given, this generates an automatic email providing parents with information on side effects and their management.  

SEN Children or Those with English as a Second Language

The nurse has a professional responsibility to ensure that anyone who he/she is providing information to, has sufficient understanding. So rather than asking “do you understand?”, questions will be framed in “tell me what you know about COVID and the vaccines?” and questions leading from their answer.

We can offer to provide information in different language, but this will be on a case by case basis, and based on the individual. We are not expecting colleagues to ‘abandon’ their duty of care, and appreciate the information that form tutors etc have, for example about very anxious students and/or those with sensory-processing difficulties as this enables us to provide a more tailored service to those with additional needs.

Advice from Professional Bodies

we are aware of the advice from Teaching unions and professional bodies. There has long been a requirement for schools to cooperate with other statutory bodies to support delivery of school-aged immunisation programmes. We have been doing this since the late 1950s.

School immunisation programmes are successful because delivery in schools has high uptake, and is less disrupting to schools, pupils and parents, particularly relevant given the challenges of the last 18 months.

Malicious Documents

Furthermore we have been made aware of a malicious document with NHS logo being circulated to schools. This has been escalated and we have alerted Public Health Colleagues in the Local Authority. Our administrative staff have been instructed to send an email to schools who query the validity of this information with the following text and we would ask for your support in this as well.

Following heightened anti-vaxx activity, negative media and in some cases unpleasant emails to schools as well as our staff since the start of the programme, the internal Ethical Consideration Group within Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has met to consider the challenges this is presenting and will provide further guidance to teams.


Dear School Colleague/Parent,


We have been made aware that there has been misleading information purported to originate from the School-aged Immunisation service to schools, requesting it is shared with parents whose children are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine this term. Please note this is NOT AN AUTHORISED document and is a scam and should not be circulated further.


Please ensure all your staff are aware. We have alerted our colleagues at regional offices and Public Health Colleagues in the Local Authority. Trading Standards officers will investigate and take action if necessary, as this is unauthorised use of the NHS brand and logo.


Thank you for your support.


- Berkshire School-aged Immunisation Teams