Implementing new consent procedures for the schools-based HPV vaccination programme: a qualitative study

Implementing new consent procedures for the schools-based HPV vaccination programme: a qualitative study
Suzanne Audrey, Karen Evans, Michelle C Farr, Joanne Ferrie, Julie Yates, Marion R Roderick, Harri Fisher
British Journal of Child Health, 22 February 2021
Abstract
Background
The English schools-based human papillomavirus (HPV) programme was offered to young women aged 12-13 years. High coverage was achieved, but variations in uptake across local authorities were apparent. The requirement for written parental consent acted as a barrier to some young women with the potential to exacerbate health inequities.
Objectives
To consider the practicalities and implications of implementing new consent procedures for the schools-based HPV vaccination programme.
Design
Qualitative study.
Settings
Two local authority areas in the south-west of England with relatively lower uptake of the HPV vaccination programme.
Participants
The 53 participants included: the immunisation programme manager, three immunisation nurses, three members of staff in mainstream schools, five members of staff in alternative education provider settings, 19 young women, and 22 parents.
Methods
Digitally recorded, semi-structured interviews were undertaken. All transcripts were fully transcribed and anonymised. Thematic analysis was undertaken, assisted by the Framework approach to data management.
Results
The new consent processes for the HPV vaccination generally worked well. Telephoning parents on the day of the vaccination session was viewed as an acceptable and effective way to reach parents. Adolescent self-consent was rarely undertaken. This can be explained partially by the relative success in gaining parental verbal consent but concerns about disrupting relationships – between healthcare professionals, parents and school staff, or within families – made professionals reluctant to administer the vaccine without some form of parental consent. For young women with special educational needs and disabilities the consent process relied upon close communication between school staff and parents. Other young women whose access to the vaccine, or consent options, were unclear or problematic included: those who were registered with a school but attended an alternative setting for part of their timetable; those educated at home; those in the care of the local authority or living with a foster family, and; young people with gender dysphoria.
Conclusions
Expanding the consent procedures for the schools-based HPV vaccination programme to include parental telephone consent was broadly welcomed by the immunisation nurses, parents, and young women in our study. The requirement for young women to confirm that they had discussed vaccination with their parents, and that vaccination would not cause difficulties at home, meant adolescent self-consent was rare in this age-group. Greater understanding of the barriers to uptake outside of the mainstream school-based sessions is needed to further address inequalities in uptake.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s