FROM HUMAN VACCINES & IMMUNOTHERAPEUTICS
Approximately 86% of middle school students were vaccinated against HPV in a school setting in a review of data from a service project involving more than 8,000 students.
“School-located vaccination programs (SLVPs) provide access to vaccination for those adolescents whose parents cannot miss work or other daytime commitments or those who have multiple after-school commitments,” wrote Dr. Amy Middleman of the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, and her colleagues. Data from previous studies suggest reluctance on the part of parents to allow their children to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) in a school setting, but such data may not reflect parents’ opinions when a school-based program is actually available, the researchers noted.
The researchers tested SLVPs at eight middle schools including 8,333 students; 80% were Hispanic, 17% were black, 1% were white, and the remainder of students’ ethnicities were not identified (Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. 2016 Aug. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2016.1208326 ).
School-based vaccinations were scheduled for three times: September/October 2012, March/April 2013, and September/October 2013; the findings reflect the first two visits.
The SLVPs included the following vaccines: HPV, influenza, Tdap, meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), hepatitis A, varicella, and MMR. A total of 1,674 vaccines were administered in the fall of 2012, and 532 were administered in the spring of 2013. Overall, 449 of 524 (86%) students in the fall program and 161 of 188 (86%) in the spring program received the HPV vaccine.
The study was limited by several factors including the descriptive nature of the service project and the inability to obtain the vaccination status of all enrolled students. In addition, the schools were located in lower income areas, which might limit the generalizability of the findings, the researchers noted. However, the results suggest that “SLVPs may be more successful not only when they include all vaccines, but also when conducted in the fall prior to the onset of preparation for high-stakes state testing,” they said.
The study was supported by the Society for Adolescent Health through a grant from Merck. One study coauthor previously received salary support from Merck.