Preparing early for vaccination days is important.
A school immunisation coordinator should be nominated at the end of the previous school year. This person will act as the key liaison point for all school-based immunisation enquiries.
This person should engage with the local immunisation team's coordinator early in the year.
Usually your local immunisation coordinator will have resources to assist you with communication about the vaccine, obtaining consent from parents and guardians, and running the program smoothly.
You might also find it useful to read the resources available on this website which you can use or adapt in consultation with your local immunisation coordinator.
Once school vaccination dates have been made with your local immunisation coordinator, you can include them in your school calendar and on your website.
To get consent forms returned in time, consider making them part of the enrolment process, otherwise distribute them very early in the new school year.
If there are concerns or evidence that consent cards are not being given to parents, consider sending them to parents and guardians directly rather than via students.
Set up a reminder system to prompt parents and guardians who have not returned their consent form. You may wish to use or adapt this sample reminder letter, make an announcement at school assembly, place a small article in the school newsletter and/or send reminder emails or SMS texts encouraging consent card returns. Follow up students that have not returned their consent cards by giving the student a second consent card to take home.
Returned consent forms will be collected by the local immunisation coordinator either prior to or on the immunisation day. They are used on immunisation day to record vaccinations given.
We recommend schools provide the following information to parents and guardians:
1. Send an explanatory letter home with the consent form. You may wish to use or adapt this sample consent form letter. If your school writes its own letter it's a good idea to consider including:
- Your local immunisation team's phone number
- The following paragraph for parents and guardians who don't read or speak English well
The Commonwealth website has translated brochues and posters in several languages. Your State/Territory health department can also be contacted for translated HPV resources. If your language is not included, call the Telephone Interpretation Service on 13 14 50 and ask to speak to the National Immunisation Hotline on 1800 671 811.
There are also HPV vaccination resources available from the Commonwealth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
2. Consider sending some further reading material home with the consent form and explanatory letter. You may wish to use or adapt the HPV and the vaccine fact sheet for parents and the Myths and facts on HPV and the vaccine fact sheet for parents.
3. Include an article in your school newsletter and/or website. You may wish to use or adapt this sample article. Be sure to include the three planned school immunisation dates on your school calendar.
On vaccination day, your local immunisation coordinator will give all immunised students a fact sheet on common reactions to vaccines to take home.
Ask your immunisation team if they would like to be contacted directly if the school becomes aware of any reactions that have occurred.
Before or soon after consent forms are sent home, we recommend schools provide the following information to students in assembly or a special lesson.
Information about HPV
Information about the vaccine
Information about HPV-related cancers
It's helpful to ensure that all students have a basic understanding of HPV and what the vaccine is for.
You may wish to use the first 16 slides of this PowerPoint presentation and lesson plan and play our short HPV teen video to the students.
Distribute information about HPV and the vaccine to each eligible student. You may wish to use or adapt this fact sheet for students.
Once consent forms have been returned, we recommend schools provide the following information to students receiving the vaccine in assembly or a special lesson. It is important that teachers are also provided with information about the vaccine so they can answer any questions students and/or parents may have.
- The timetable for the day: what will happen and where.
- What to wear on vaccination day – sports clothing may allow better access to the upper arm.
- It is ok to listen to iPods or similar before, during or after having the vaccine if they wish – research has shown this to be a useful distraction technique, particularly for anxious students.
- Having a good breakfast on vaccination day is important.
- It is best to avoid excessive exertion on the day they receive the vaccine.
- If they are nervous, they should ask to be vaccinated first.
- Reactions to the vaccine are very rare, but if they do have a reaction to tell an immunisation nurse, teacher or parent/guardian.
- You may wish to use the last 4 slides of PowerPoint presentation, which include the above information.