School vax programs may be harmful: experts

The University of Adelaide researchers, who examined the ethics of school-based immunisation programs for adolescents, visited nine South Australian secondary schools on immunisation days in 2011.

They conducted focus groups with students and interviewed parents, nurses and teachers.

They found fear of the needle was a common concern for students.

“This poses the question of potential harm, either real or imagined,” said Professor Annette Braunack-Mayer, lead author and head of the University of Adelaide’s School of Population Health.

The authors also flagged ethical concerns over privacy and informed consent.

Privacy concerns included the public nature of the setting, the fact male and female students were not separated, students being able to see others as they were immunised, and conversations – including whether or not students were pregnant – being potentially overheard by peers.