Young people, immunisations and consent
Vaccines help protect you against serious diseases.
It’s important you have all the information you need to be able to give informed consent to receive the immunisations you're offered.
Consent is a formal term for giving permission or agreeing to something.
How do I give consent?
Both you and your parent or carer will be asked to give consent.
Vaccines routinely offered in school include:
- seasonal flu
- human papillomavirus (HPV)
- tetanus, diphtheria and polio (Td/IPV)
- meningitis ACWY (MenACWY)
Your measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine status will also be checked to make sure you've received two doses.
For these vaccines, both you and your parent or carer will be asked to sign a consent form. You should return it to your school, even if you're not going to have the vaccine.
Consent packs containing a letter, leaflet and the consent form are being sent to secondary schools. You and your parent or carer will receive a consent pack before vaccinations begin.
Before consenting, it’s important you and your parent or carer discuss the information you receive and feel comfortable with your decision.
When you're ready, sign the consent form. If there isn't a consent form in your pack, speak to your school as soon as possible.
Understanding consent (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEgOWRXnN5Q)
This animation explains how young people under 16 can give consent before getting a vaccine.
Understanding consent video - British Sign Language (BSL)
Speak to your GP or another healthcare professional if you or your parent or carer have any questions about the vaccine.
For vaccines offered outside of school, for example travel vaccines, you may not be asked to sign a consent form. Instead you'll be asked to confirm consent by attending your appointment and telling the person giving the vaccine that you consent.
You can bring your parent or carer with you to your appointment for support.
Getting the right information on vaccines
You should only use trusted websites and resources to find reliable and accessible information.
When looking for information about vaccines online, look for the Vaccine Safety Net logo. This means the information about vaccine safety is reliable, and the site is part of a global network of websites evaluated by the World Health Organization.
For trusted online information about vaccinations for young people visit our vaccines for young people page.
If you need translations and other formats, Public Health Scotland offers the ‘Vaccines for Young People' leaflet in various formats and languages, including:
On the day of your vaccine
The person giving you your vaccine will check your consent. They'll explain things in a way you can understand. If you’re unsure or don't understand anything let them know. They'll support you and answer your questions.
You can ask:
- as many questions as you want
- for more time to make your decision
- for some information to take away with you
Can I consent on my own?
It's recommended you get agreement from your parent or carer to have your vaccination, but it’s not always necessary.
If you're under 16, you can give consent if the person giving you your vaccine feels you understand what's involved and any potential risks and benefits.
What if I change my mind?
You can change your decision at any time, even if you've signed the consent form. It's important you have a full understanding of the vaccine you’re being offered before you make a decision.
You can always speak to the person giving you your vaccine on the day if you've any concerns.
Giving consent when you’re an adult
People aged 18 or over aren't asked for written consent for immunisations. You confirm your consent by attending your appointment and verbally consenting to be immunised.
24 January 2023
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