As we considered our team’s project for the Riley Institute, we agreed that we wanted to impact the lives of students in our state. Through the expertise of one of our team members representing DHEC, we learned that while our public schools require Tdap for all rising 7th grade students, there are two additional vaccinations that are critically important for our youth that many students do not receive. This leaves students vulnerable for potential health problems in the future. Our project revolves around sharing with parents the importance of the two additional vaccinations for youth: MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4) and HPV (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine). Our team will implement a pilot project during the fall of 2018 with several middle schools in the state of South Carolina.

Representatives from DHEC will meet with parents during school registration to explain and provide literature to parents regarding the additional two shots. In addition, our team met with the High School League requesting that information regarding all three shots be added to the athletic physical form required of all South Carolina athletes. We recognize that many of our students use their athletic physical instead of visiting their family pediatrician, and we want to ensure they receive information on these two important vaccines. In addition, a meeting was also held with school nurses across the state to inform them of our project and to obtain their support in helping encourage the other two vaccinations. Our hope is that by educating our parents and providing information to our school nurses to share with families will increase the number of youth receiving the additional vaccinations.