Vaccine Initiative

Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is for many adolescents a rollercoaster journey with way too many bumps. Some of those bumps are health risks that they end up plowing through, rather than safely rolling over.

Adolescents need help with learning how to protect their health. What they learn now—the safe health habits they adopt—will provide a lifetime of protection against disease. Vaccines are a safe, effective, yet underutilized method of disease prevention in this population.

Disease prevention has never been so fast and easy; however, 35 million adolescents may not be up-to-date on recommended vaccines.

Raising the awareness of adolescents and their caregivers to the availability of and need for vaccines for this target population will help overcome barriers to increased adolescent immunization rates. Such barriers include lack of uniform school immunization mandates for adolescents, lack of funding, a decline in physician-patient contact, lack of knowledge on the part of adolescent caregivers as to the need for vaccination in the adolescent years, and lack of interest or knowledge on the part of adolescents.

Recognizing the need for developing effective immunization education tools for both adolescents and their parents/caregivers, PKIDs recently completed surveying the two groups as the first step in its Teen Vaccine Initiative; a program geared toward increasing vaccination rates of adolescents ages 11 to 19. Survey findings indicate:

  • Adolescents primarily trust their parents to give them accurate health information, with health professionals running a close second.

  • Parents predominantly turn to health professionals for accurate health information.

  • Television commercials, websites, posters in doctors’ offices, and local newspapers are sources for health information to which adolescents pay attention.

  • Parents pay attention to adolescent health information provided by local newspapers, school newsletters, websites, and posters in doctors’ offices.

  • Few adolescents know where to start to find out about their immunization needs.

  • Roughly half of adolescents have had a conversation about immunizations with a health professional and/or a parent in the past year.

  • Thirty-seven percent of adolescents believe that not many people get sick or die from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Based on PKIDs’ survey findings and information gathered in its needs assessment, PKIDs has developed a health communication and education program for 1) raising immunization awareness among adolescents and their parents/caregivers and 2) educating adolescents and parents of adolescents about available vaccines and the diseases they prevent.

For more on PKIDs' VI survey, please click here to read the report.

Immunizations stop
disease from spreading.

Check with your family
doctor to see if you could benefit.