- Your rights give you and your parents control over decisions about medical treatment in the widest sense, including routine vaccinations and injections
- Before you make a decision to have a vaccination or not, you have the right to have information about what the injection involves and why it is recommended
- Your right to confidentiality extends to discussions you have with the school nurse
Injections are used as a way of protecting you against some illnesses and diseases that would otherwise be dangerous to your health. It’s recommended that you have injections when you are a baby, and then more injections as you get older. Many of these take place at school because it’s a convenient place for lots of people to have the same injection. If you have a particular health condition, you may have to have more injections to make sure you are properly protected.
When you are a baby, the people responsible for you – your parents or someone else with parental responsibility for you – will make the decision whether or not you should have the injection that is offered. As you get older, you will be able to make the decision whether or not to have the injection. You should be provided with information about the injection beforehand so that you can discuss it with your parents or someone who has parental responsibility for you, if you would like.
In Wales, no one can force you to have an injection. The injections are offered are there to protect you and your health. They also help protect everyone around you and stops the spread of some diseases and illnesses. You need to understand that if you don’t have the injections, you won’t be protected from these illnesses, but there is no law that says you have to have the usual injections that are offered.
If you don’t want to have the injection in school along with everyone else, you can ask to have it at your doctor’s surgery.
You have rights to allow you to develop healthily, and to have good quality healthcare. In Wales, the school nursing service is one way the government is trying to make sure this happens. The school nurse service helps with health in schools generally, but can also help if you have a particular need or problem. The school nurse has to keep anything you discuss confidential in the same way that a doctor at your GP surgery or at hospital has to keep your information confidential. You can find out more about this here.
The services the school nurse can offer will be different depending on whether you are at secondary school or primary school.
You should be able to talk to the school nurse in Welsh if that is your ‘first’ language. If you don’t speak English or Welsh and need to talk to the school nurse about something, you should be able to have someone available to translate for you so you can discuss your problem.
We are very grateful to Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for generously giving their time and expertise to check the content of this section of the website. October 2018.