The recent introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine into the routine immunisation schedule for girls in the UK has reaffirmed the possibility of widespread adolescent immunisation, assuming appropriate prior consultation and resource allocation. On the back of this success, it is timely to consider the case for extending the programme of school-based adolescent immunisations to include the provision of both additional primary immunisations as well as important booster doses of vaccines given earlier in childhood. Such a programme, if well designed, would ensure that individual protection from vaccine preventable disease was maximised prior to school leaving and, of equal importance in some cases, that herd immunity was sustained more effectively in the population as a whole. The possible contents of a re-invigorated adolescent immunisation programme are discussed considering those vaccines which are already available and for which cost-benefit calculation may therefore be of prime importance, as well as vaccines which may become available in the future and for which the issues may be more complicated. The importance of providing balanced, accurate, appropriate and accessible information regarding adolescent immunisation is also highlighted.
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Competing interests AF undertakes clinical research sponsored by and paid consultancy for and has received speaking honoraria and costs related to attending academic meetings from all the major vaccine manufacturers. All income is paid into his employers, the University of Bristol and University Teaching Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trusts. EC has been funded to attend academic meetings by a number of major vaccine manufacturers.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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