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COVID-19 pandemic impact on adolescent vaccination – new report

The NCIRS “Impact of COVID-19 on School-based Vaccination Programs" evaluation has found that overall, pandemic impacts on vaccination uptake in adolescents were relatively limited in Australia compared to other countries; however, the number of adolescent vaccinations given in 2020 and 2021 was lower than in 2019. 

The number of vaccinations decreased by 10–11% for the first dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, 23–40% for second doses of HPV vaccine given in the same year as the first dose, 11–14% for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and 2–6% for meningococcal ACWY vaccine.

The latest international scientific and clinical evidence shows that a single HPV vaccine dose gives good protection to healthy young people. As such, changes have recently been made to the adolescent vaccination schedule and young people – except those who are immunocompromised – now only need a single dose of HPV vaccine to be fully vaccinated.

Associate Professor Frank Beard, Associate Director, Surveillance, Coverage, Evaluation and Social Science at NCIRS, said, “It is important to make sure all adolescents who missed out on school-based program vaccines during the pandemic receive catch-up vaccination, either through school, GPs or other immunisation providers.”

Find out more about the vaccinations adolescents need to protect them against serious diseases

Parent interviews showed that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted families in different ways, and played a significant and diverse role in shaping parent decisions about both school-based vaccination and vaccination more broadly.

The authors make a range of recommendations, based on their research and feedback from parents, on ways to mitigate the immediate impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic and to incorporate lessons learned to increase readiness for future pandemics.

Read the full report here