NEW ORLEANS — At the AAP National Conference & Exhibition, researchers reported on the steps and struggles associated with running a student ambassador program promoting HPV vaccination in a New York City high school.
This year, New York state passed a bill that allowed teenagers to be immunized with age-appropriate vaccines without parental consent. In this study, rather than health care providers suggesting it, students promoted vaccination to their peers.
The program, run by Melanie Kathryn Arnold, a third-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and colleagues, used educational flyers, posters, videos and events to highlight the benefits of vaccination.
To improve acceptance among school officials, the students shifted the focus from HPV vaccination as a preventive tool against sexually transmitted infections to the vaccines as a cancer-prevention strategy.
“Data collection did end in June 2019, but we haven’t actually had the opportunity to analyze the data. That’s something that’s still ongoing,” Arnold told Infectious Diseases in Children. “What we have heard is that the health care providers have had to order more HPV vaccines than usual, so we’re hopeful that this is something that actually did make a difference.”
Arnold MK. Student ambassador program to increase HPV vaccination coverage rates among adolescents in an East Harlem high school. Presented at: AAP National Conference & Exhibition; Oct. 25-29, 2019; New Orleans.
Disclosure: Arnold reports no relevant financial disclosures.