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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Opportunities to increase rates of human papillomavirus vaccination in the New South Wales school program through enhanced catch-up

Christine Staples A D , Michelle Butler A , Jennifer Nguyen B , David N. Durrheim A C , Patrick Cashman A C and Julia M. L. Brotherton B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Hunter New England Local Health District, Booth Building, Longworth Avenue, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, NSW 2287, Australia.

B National Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Program Register, Victorian Cytology Service, PO Box 310, East Melbourne, Vic. 8002, Australia.

C Newcastle University and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, NSW 2287, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: christine.staples@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

Sexual Health 13(6) 536-539 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH15132
Submitted: 25 January 2015  Accepted: 4 July 2016   Published: 29 August 2016

Abstract

Background: The National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Program provides HPV vaccine to high school students through school-based vaccination. We aimed to: 1) assess the vaccine completion rates achieved when general practice is used for completing doses missed at school; 2) estimate the extent of under-notification by general practices of vaccine doses administered; and 3) assess the reasons reported by parents of students for non-completion of HPV vaccination. Methods: A postal survey was conducted of parents and carers of students and identified, using school-program records, as incompletely vaccinated in a large regional area of northern NSW vaccinated during 2010. Information about additional HPV vaccine doses received or reasons for non-completion were sought. Responses were analysed and records cross-checked against the National HPV Vaccination Program Register. Results: Of 660 parents or carers contacted, 207 (31.4%) responded. We found: 1) completion rates increased, an additional 122/207 (45.2%) students had completed all three doses of HPV through their general practitioner (GP); 2) under-notification of GP doses to the National HPV Vaccination Program Register was an issue with only 5/165 (3.0%) reported; 3) the main reason for non-completion was being unaware of the opportunity to catch-up at a GP. Conclusions: Underreporting by GPs of HPV vaccine doses administered and failure to complete courses identifies two opportunities to increase HPV vaccine coverage. These could be addressed by extending provision of catch-up HPV doses in school and by developing practice software solutions for automatic notification of doses from GPs. Reasons given by parents for non-completion, mostly logistical barriers, indicate a high degree of acceptance of HPV vaccination.

Additional keywords: Australia, HPV, immunisation.


References

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