Parents encouraged to immunised children before June 30.
Parents encouraged to immunised children before June 30. contributed

Immunisation low on radar for parents of teens

  • Less than half (44.2%) of parents of teens are aware Government-funded immunisations are available in secondary school as part of the school-based program.
  • Only 17.5% of parents of teens consider immunisation among the top three concerns for their child, compared to 49.4% of parents of infants.

RESEARCH among Australian parents reveals there's a lesson to be learned when it comes to teen vaccination. Despite a comprehensive immunisation program, the majority of parents of teens (55.8%) are not aware scheduled vaccinations are available in secondary school.

ABOUT THE SCHOOL-BASED VACCINATION PROGRAM

The research, which compared the views of parents of teens with parents of infants (aged 0 - 5 years) in relation to immunisation, revealed nearly half of parents of infants (49.4%) considered immunisation amongst their top three concerns for their child.

This focus shifted dramatically among parents of teens (17.5%), with priorities turning toward education (58.4%), school/cyber bullying (48.7%), and overall emotional wellbeing and happiness (61%).

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Professor Rachel Skinner, Sydney University's Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health and Adolescent Physician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, says it's vital parents stay informed about vaccination regardless of their child's age and maintain a balanced focus on physical health and emotional wellbeing as they grow up.

"As our children start high school it can be natural to focus our concerns on other aspects of their wellbeing and development, and so it's not surprising that knowledge of immunisations can fall," Professor Skinner said.

"It is important to keep track of your teen's immunisation status, which is still a fundamental part of protecting their health and potentially preventing the spread of infectious disease.

"We are urging parents to find, sign and return the vaccination consent form - without it, their child will miss out on the recommended vaccinations at school."

WHAT VACCINATIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR MY TEENS?

Parents of teens are reliant on reminders from their school (28.6%) or local GP (19.5%) to help keep on top of their child's immunisations.

Antonia Bosnjak bravely taking her immunisation from Health Nurse Jacki Harms
Antonia Bosnjak bravely taking her immunisation from Health Nurse Jacki Harms alaina earl

Recommended adolescent vaccines on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) have been delivered via school-based vaccination programs over the last two decades in Australia.

For this often hard-to-reach population, the school-based vaccination program approach has demonstrated advantages over other strategies. Under the school-based vaccination program, the vaccines currently offered for boys and girls in high school may include chickenpox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Parents can visit their state health department websites or the following websites to learn more about school-based vaccination programs:

Immunise Australia

HPV School Vaccination Program

Immune Hero



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