Eliciting youth and adult recommendations through citizens' juries to improve school based adolescent immunisation programs
Completion of adolescent immunisation schedules in Australia is sub-optimal despite a well-established school based delivery program. The aim of this study was to seek adolescent and adult views on how existing adolescent school based immunisation policy and program delivery could be improved to increase adolescent immunisation uptake.
Two citizens’ juries held separately, one with adolescent participants and one with adult participants deliberated on recommendations for public policy. Jury members were selected using a stratified sampling technique and recruited from a standing panel of community research participants through a market research company in South Australia. Juries were conducted in Metropolitan South Australia over two days and used university facilities with all meals and refreshments provided.
Fifteen adults and 16 adolescents participated in the adult and youth juries respectively. Similar recommendations were made by both juries including increased ensuring the accuracy of information provided to adolescents and parents; employing a variety of formats for information delivery; and greater consideration of students’ physical and emotional comfort in order to improve the experience for adolescents. While the youth jury recommended that it should be compulsory for adolescents to receive vaccines through the school based immunisation program, the adult jury recommended an ‘opt-out’ system of consent. Both juries also recommended the use of incentives to improve immunisation uptake and immunisation course completion.
Eliciting adolescent views and including the perspectives of adolescents in discussions and development of strategies to improve engagement in the school based immunisation program provided valuable insight from the group most impacted by these policies and practices. Specifically, incorporation of adolescent and community views using citizens’ juries may lead to greater overall support from the community as their values and needs are more accurately reflected.