Harpenden school pupils star in innovative NHS video urging all boys and girls to get potentially life-saving HPV vaccination

Posted: September 6 2019

Harpenden school pupils star in innovative NHS video urging all boys and girls to get potentially life-saving HPV vaccination

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) faced the challenge to produce information for both schools and parents to encourage uptake of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, especially since year 8 boys are now offered this as well as girls from this month onwards.

5% of all cancers worldwide are linked to Human Papillomavirus (HPV). In the next 40 years the vaccine is expected to prevent 29,000 cancers in UK men plus over 64,000 cervical cancer cases in women. Current uptake is very good, at 91% immunisation across Hertfordshire, thanks primarily to the ongoing efforts and technological transformation of the HCT’s School Age Immunisation team. However HCT aims to improve on this and increase coverage with the help of a promotional HPV film and Social Media campaign, pioneered with the students from Sir John Lawes School’s in Harpenden.

Pupils, staff and parents recently joined forces with the HCT’s Communications and School Age Immunisation teams to produce an informative video. It has been released in time for the start of the new academic year, when HPV immunisation will commence, targeting boys and girls. The video will help free up clinical time, with Public Health Nurses no longer having to visit all the schools to promote HPV immunisation. It can also be sent via email to parents to help gain their electronic consent. Public Health England provided support and information for the production of the video, as well as featuring a spokesperson. Working with this peer group of children, in a school setting represents a first nationally with HCT hoping to repeat this in future, with other targeted health promotion campaigns around young people’s health.


Caroline Shepherd, HCT’s Operational Lead for Child Health & Immunisation Service said: ”We are delighted and extremely grateful for the kind cooperation provided by pupils, staff and parents from Sir John Lawes School. They have helped coproduce an innovative video that will hopefully inform and lead to higher levels of uptake of this potentially, life-saving vaccine.”

Clare Hawkins, CEO of Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust said: ”This represents a unique, creative and practical way to reach young people, through their own peer group, to stress the advantages of being protected from the adverse impact of the Human Papilloma Virus and the wide range of cancers it can cause, including cervical and anal cancer. To now offer this to boys, as well as girls, across Hertfordshire will increase this protection even further. It represents an innovative way of communicating this important message and in collaboration with the key partners and stakeholders. Well done to everyone involved!”

Philip Newbery Deputy Head of Sir John Lawes School: “I think encouraging uptake of the HPV immunisation is something we should definitely endorse in our school. I like the fact that there is now equal responsibility for both the boys and girls to make sure the vaccination programme is being done. I would definitely do it for my children and would hope you’d do it for yours.”

For the full video click here and hear what parents, pupils and teachers say all next week by following the HPV Immunisation campaign all next week (commencing 09 September) – go to Twitter @HCTNHS and same address on Instagram and search for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust on Facebook.

For any interview requests with pupils and NHS representatives please email hct.communications@nhs.net or call 01707 388149 / 388150.

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk