n South African Medical Journal - High uptake of Gardasil vaccine among 9 - 12-year-old schoolgirls participating in an HPV vaccination demonstration project in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : research




Cervical cancer is linked to infection of the cervix by oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes. The quadrivalent Gardasil vaccine (against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18), recommended in girls 9 - 12 years of age, has been shown to be safe, immunogenic and efficacious, with minimal or no side-effects.

To demonstrate the capacity of school health teams to carry out vaccinations within a school environment.
To assess the uptake of 3 doses of the vaccine, document lessons learnt and provide recommendations for a national rollout of school-based HPV vaccination for learners.
Female learners (age 9 - 12 years) from 31 primary schools in Nongoma and Ceza districts (KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa) were identified for inclusion in the vaccination programme. The 3 doses of vaccine were administered by existing school health teams. Education and training sessions were held with all stakeholders: provincial departments of health and education; school health teams; primary healthcare nurses; hospital doctors and nurses; private practitioners; school principals, teachers and governing bodies; parents; and community and traditional leaders.
The overall uptake of the vaccine was found to be high: 99.7%, 97.9% and 97.8% for the first, second and third doses respectively (=963). No adverse events were attributed to the HPV vaccine.
This project demonstrated the successful implementation of HPV vaccination among learners (ages 9 - 12 years) using school health teams.


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