New Jersey Department of Health

Partners and Programs in the Spotlight

With low HPV vaccine coverage across the U.S., states are undertaking a number of activities to raise adolescent vaccination rates. New Jersey is one of the states that is carrying out a number of activities.

The New Jersey Department of Health, Vaccine Preventable Disease Program (VPDP) and the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey (Partnership) are two groups that are leading the charge to increase adolescent vaccination rates, including HPV, in New Jersey.

Partnership became a VPDP grantee in 2000 to help improve childhood vaccination rates in Greater Newark, New Jersey. Since that time, Partnership’s Essex Metro Immunization Coalition has expanded to improve and sustain timely immunization rates across the lifespan. Protecting adolescents from serious vaccine-preventable diseases by increasing adolescent immunization rates is a top priority for the VPDP and Partnership.

The “Protect Me With 3+” campaign, a collaboration between the VPDP and Partnership, aims to raise awareness about the importance of adolescent vaccines among preteens, teens, and parents to increase vaccination rates for influenza, Tdap, meningococcal, and HPV. This campaign began as a video contest in 2012 to empower adolescents and has expanded to include a poster contest, an educational website, and a social media campaign. The Protect Me With 3+ campaign provides information on all routinely recommended adolescent vaccines and has several teen-friendly videos promoting HPV vaccination.

Partnership has also tackled increasing HPV vaccination rates directly with providers by encouraging them to present parents and their adolescent patients with a bundled recommendation for HPV vaccine—one that doesn’t single it out or present the vaccine as optional.

“We’ve found that parents are generally more likely to have their children vaccinated against HPV when the provider gives a strong recommendation for it – when it is grouped together with Tdap or meningococcal, for example,” said Jane Sarwin, Director of Public Health Initiatives, Partnership and Coordinator of the Essex Metro Immunization Coalition. “Parents also want to hear that HPV vaccine prevents cancer.”

In addition to collaborating with Partnership, the VPDP has also worked with cancer coalitions and other immunization coalitions to improve coverage rates for HPV and all other ACIP recommended adolescent vaccines.

Both the VPDP and Partnership are leading a number of quality improvement activities to increase adolescent vaccination rates, including HPV, in New Jersey. Some of these activities are: Assessment, Feedback, Incentives, eXchange (AFIX) visits; provider education through webinars and outreach activities, developing and distributing HPV vaccine education materials, and training providers to use the immunization registry.