health

Vaccinating teenagers is a "low priority" for parents.

Worrying new research has shown that vaccination is considered to be “low on the radar” for parents of teenagers.

And surprisingly, the majority of Australian parents of teens – 55.8 per cent, in fact – don’t even realise that scheduled vaccinations are available in high school.

The research found that while 49.4 per cent of parents of infants considered immunisation to be among their top priorities, once children enter their teen years, that focus tended to shift towards education, bullying and the general well being of their kids, with only 17.5 per cent of parents considering immunisation to be a top concern.

vaccinating teenagers
Image via iStock.

But Sydney University’s Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health and Adolescent Physician at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Professor Rachel Skinner, said that vaccination was essential at any age - even during adolescence.

“As our children start high school it can be natural to focus our concerns on other aspects of their wellbeing and development, and so it’s not surprising that knowledge of immunisations can fall," Dr Skinner said.

“It is important to keep track of your teen’s immunisation status, which is still a fundamental part of protecting their health and potentially preventing the spread of infectious disease. We are urging parents to find, sign and return the vaccination consent form - without it, their child will miss out on the recommended vaccinations at school.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image supplied.

The research, which was conducted by Seqirus, also discovered that parents of teens relied on their child's school or their GP to remind them to vaccinate their kids. Yet 26.6 per cent revealed they did not seek out the vaccination consent forms that are distributed by schools each year.

Without a signed consent form, teens will simply miss out on vital vaccines which could save their life.

Adolescent vaccines on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) have been delivered at Australian schools for two decades. Current vaccines on offer for high school-aged children include chickenpox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and human papillomavirus (HPV).

vaccinating teenagers
Image via iStock.

More than a quarter of a million Aussie teens are entering high school in 2016, with all of them about to bring home vaccination consent forms in the coming weeks.

This latest - and hugely important - research is a timely reminder for parents to make vaccination a priority - and to put their child's health first.

For more information, parents are urged to chat to their GP, check out state health department websites or visit Immunise AustraliaImmune Hero or research the HPV School Vaccination Program.

For more information parents should speak to a healthcare professional.

Are you up-to-date with your kids' vaccinations?

00:00 / ???