Uptake of HPV vaccine lower in disadvantaged schools, figures reveal
Ill-founded fears have contributed to a fall in the take-up of the HPV vaccine which helps prevent cervical cancer.
However, a new study shows that uptake is also lower in some disadvantaged schools.
While the difference is small, the study found disadvantaged schools were twice as likely to have an uptake of less than 50pc when compared with other schools, independent of other school characteristics. The relationship between disadvantage and HPV vaccine uptake in schools is complex, said the study by Dr Chantal Migone, Department of Public Health, HSE Area East.
Parents from disadvantaged backgrounds may be less likely to respond to offers of vaccination, she said.
"The question remains as to how HPV vaccine uptake can be improved in disadvantaged schools.
"Actively encouraging vaccination in students from disadvantaged schools requires closer relationships with schools than currently exists. Engaging with education authorities has had a positive impact on HPV programmes in other countries.
“The identification of individual students who have not been vaccinated and their follow-up requires a change in data protection legislation and the development of health information systems and vaccination registries," the Irish Medical Journal reported.