Statewide Campaign Launches to Increase Immunizations Among Pa. Teens

652 middle school nurses help spread #UDontGetIt message

Mar 15, 2016, 13:30 ET from Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition (PAIC)

YORK, Pa., March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningitis and human papillomavirus (HPV) are all serious diseases that can cause symptoms and complications such as brain damage, severe scarring, amputation of limbs, fever, lockjaw, seizures, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, kidney damage, genital warts, cancer and even death.  On March 16, 2016, the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition (PAIC), in partnership with 18 immunization coalitions across Pennsylvania, will launch "Phase II" of the statewide, teen-targeted campaign #UDontGetIt in 652 public and charter middle schools.  The campaign objective is to encourage teens ages 11 to 15 to get three recommended vaccines to protect against serious and preventable diseases.

"In addition to the yearly influenza shot, teens need these 3 vaccines," said Joanne Sullivan, RN, BSN, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition.  "This edgy, trendy and unique campaign supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is designed to get the attention of teens and their parents, and encourage the decision for adolescents to receive 1 dose of Tdap, 2 doses of meningococcal conjugate and 3 doses of HPV vaccine.  For maximum protection, teens need to complete the series," Sullivan added.

According to Sullivan, nurses at more than 650 middle schools across the state have received packets containing posters, handouts, videos and other communications materials (including materials in Spanish).  On March 16, school nurses across the Commonwealth will simultaneously share the immunization information and message regarding the importance of adolescent vaccinations to students.  Students will be asked to consider:

  • Taking an hour out of your busy life to get a vaccine could avoid a lifetime of hardship for you and your family.
  • A shot causes discomfort for a few moments. Any one of these diseases can cause a lifetime of devastating effects or even death.
  • Serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. The benefits of preventing disease with a vaccine far outweigh the risks.
  • It's much more common and easier than you may think to contract one of these diseases.
  • Meningococcal disease, though rare, can cripple or kill, often without warning.
  • Adolescents 16 to 21 years have a higher risk of meningococcal disease than other age groups. Two doses of MCV4 are recommended at 11-12 and 16 years of age.
  • HPV is a widespread virus that infects males and females. Half of those newly infected with HPV are between the ages of 15 and 24. It's a major cause of cervical cancer.
  • The HPV vaccine prevents many cancers in the genital area, throat, head and neck of young males and females. Cancer kills. This vaccine is saving lives.

All communications materials will lead teens and their parents to the campaign webpage: as well as social media channels such as Facebook (, Twitter (@UDontGetIt_), and YouTube where information, videos, an audio clip, infographics, images and important statistics will be available and shared.  The webpage provides links to local coalitions where teens and parents can find out where vaccine clinics and events are happening in their region.  Public Service Announcements are circulating statewide.

"The timing of this launch is especially important because just last month federal researchers announced that the HPV vaccine, which was introduced a decade ago, has already reduced the virus's prevalence in teenage girls by almost two-thirds," says Sullivan.  "Reports indicate that the HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccine prevents many cancers in the genital area, throat, head and neck of young males and females.  This vaccine, as well as the Tdap and meningococcal conjugate vaccines, are saving lives."

To identify the middle schools in your area that are participating in the #UDontGetIt launch, please contact Karen Gross at or via phone at 717-432-2468.

About Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition (PAIC)
Based in York, Pa., PAIC builds coalitions and partnerships to provide immunization education and access to affordable recommended immunizations for all Pennsylvanians across the lifespan.  For more information, visit

Media Contact:  Karen Gross
Suasion, LLC

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition (PAIC)