HPV vaccination and School-Based Health Centers
Frequently Asked Questions for parents
HPV vaccine is cancer prevention. But finding time to get your child vaccinated can sometimes feel impossible.
That's where school-based health centers (SBHCs) come in. SBHCs provide on-campus vaccination, along with a host of other services. That means your child doesn't have to miss class and you don't have to miss work. And services are all free! Read on to learn more.
HPV is a very common virus – about 80% of people will get infected at some point in their lives. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. It can also cause anal cancer, cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx), and genital warts in both men and women.
HPV vaccine protects your child from cancer. It's one clear step you can take to give them the best chance of a healthy future.
Children can safely get vaccinated as early as age nine. All kids should get two doses of HPV vaccine by age 12. Teens who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses.
HPV vaccines went through many years of testing before they were licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No serious safety concerns were identified. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and FDA continue to monitor HPV vaccines to make sure they are safe and beneficial for the public.Like any vaccine or medicine, HPV vaccination can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and include pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and headache. Fainting after any vaccine, including HPV vaccine, is more common among adolescents. To prevent fainting, adolescents should be seated or lying down during vaccination and remain in that position for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given. Click here for more information about HPV vaccine safety.
Just like a typical primary care clinic, school-based health centers (SBHCs) provide a range of services. Students can receive immunizations like HPV, well child exams, chronic disease management (e.g. asthma), sports physicals, reproductive health services, and mental health counseling. SBHC staff collaborate with schools to address the broad range of concerns and adverse experiences that affect students' healthy development.
SBHCs place medical, behavioral, dental, and vision care directly in schools so that all young people have equal opportunity to learn and grow. All services are free to students.
Community health agencies operate SBHCs at over 30 elementary, middle, and high schools in King County. Our SBHCs serve over 8,000 students and provide over 40,000 health care visits each year.
If it's tough to find time to get your child to the doctor’s office for immunizations, school-based health centers (SBHCs) are a hassle-free, no-cost alternative. SBHCs remove several common barriers to health care, making it easy for students to access care efficiently, effectively, and seamlessly. You don’t have to take time off from work and potentially lose wages, and your child doesn’t have to miss class to travel to off-site appointments. Instead, your child can quickly get back to class and focus on learning.
In addition to offering immunizations and addressing other physical and mental health concerns, SBHCs also promote good health across the lifespan. They offer nutrition education, promote supportive relationships, and reinforce positive self-images.
School-based health centers (SBHCs) do not replace the role of primary care clinics for students who already have access to health care. SBHCs can, however, serve as a safety net for students who have limited or no insurance, need linguistically or culturally competent care they can’t find elsewhere, or who face other barriers to care.
All services at school-based health centers (SBHCs) are free to students. Some SBHCs bill insurance for reimbursement but the cost is never passed on to clients or family members.
School-based health centers (SBHCs) are typically staffed by medical providers (e.g. ARNPs and PAs), licensed mental health professionals, and clinic coordinators. Additional staff may include patient navigators, health educators, oral health professionals, and others.
School-based health centers (SBHCs) complement the work of school nurses by providing a readily accessible referral site for students who are without a medical home or in need of more comprehensive services such as primary, mental health, oral, or vision care.
In schools with a school-based health center (SBHC) onsite, registration forms are typically sent to families in the school's welcome packet at the start of the school year. Some SBHCs also post registration forms on their website. If you don't receive a form or misplace your copy, just call or visit your child's SBHC to request a new one.
This toolkit provides School-Based Health Center staff and students the tools necessary to develop and sustain an HPV Vaccine Campaign in their schools. By starting this campaign and promoting the HPV vaccine, you can help increase HPV vaccination rates and prevent HPV-related cancers and disease.