Parental consent forms are critical to adolescent vaccination in schools.

Up to one in three teens are missing out on National Immunisation Program (NIP) funded vaccinations due to parental consent forms being lost, or not returned to schools. The NIP is an immunisation schedule, with funding for recommended vaccines for all ages. Each State has its own school-based adolescent vaccination program, which includes vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV), diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Immunisation surveillance expert, Professor Robert Booy told the Adelaide Advertiser, “Less than 80 per cent vaccine coverage is not good enough when we reach 93 per cent in infants.”

This poor immunisation coverage in teens has prompted calls for better use of technology to help remind parents of vaccination programs in schools, to help increase the number of returned consent forms. Text message reminders could be sent to parents about the vaccination program and a standard national online consent form could be produced to simplify the consent process.

Better communication between schools and parents is pivotal to increased vaccination coverage among teens.

Teens who miss out on vaccination at school are eligible for a free catch-up vaccination with their GP during the school year.

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