The Welsh public health experts behind the research set out to examine how best to reach teenagers with a booster dose of tetanus/diphtheria/polio vaccine.
The injection is the final dose in the routine UK childhood schedule but reaching the 95% uptake target can prove challenging. In fact, the authors of the study say that no health board in Wales has reached this target, although some areas have had more success than others.
In a new article published in the Journal of Public Health, the authors studied data from the 22 local authorities, looking at uptake rates for the booster vaccine and the systems for delivering the jab – which is most frequently administered through schools or by general practitioners (GPs).
They found that uptake rates in schools were between 76% and 81% while in general practice the uptake was between 5% and 74%. In areas where both options are available, most parents chose for their child to be vaccinated in school.
The authors concluded that offering the vaccine through schools is more likely to achieve reliable higher uptake rates and that this strategy should be adopted nationwide.