NIH Funds Pilot Project to Push HPV Vaccine on South African Fifth-Graders – Brenda Baletti, Ph.D. 3/4/24


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding research on how to boost the uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among fifth-grade boys and girls in South Africa, grant documents obtained by Children’s Health Defense (CHD) via a Freedom of Information Act request revealed.

The NIH awarded approximately $340,000 to principal investigators Dr. Ingrid Katz, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, and Lisa Michelle Butler, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut.

The grant funds a project to develop and test school-based communication strategies targeting children and their parents at schools in the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa, to determine what types of communication are more likely to result in more children getting the HPV vaccine.

The funding covers a one-year pilot feasibility study in five schools to test strategies that the researchers will then refine and test on hundreds of children in a larger, “full-scale hybrid type 2 trial.”

The researchers hope the school-based communications strategies they develop will help increase child and adolescent HPV vaccination uptake in South Africa from the current rate of 37% of girls to the target rate of over 80% of all children ages 9-12.

They hope to later use the same strategy in other low- and middle-income countries to increase their rates as well….

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