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Use of health services

Good outcomes for young people rely on youth friendly health services – from community based health promotion through to NHS inpatient care.

Around two thirds of year 10 pupils had visited the doctors in the last six months


In the UK the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been routinely offered to girls aged 12-13 since 2008, and this was extended to boys from September 2019. It helps protect against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer, some mouth and throat cancers, some cancers of the anal and genital areas, and genital warts. It has been shown to successfully reduce high-risk HPV.  Prior to the pandemic, approximately more than 80% of Year 9 females were completing the two-dose HPV vaccination course in England and Wales (eg, Public Health England, 2019a; Public Health Wales, 2018).

Due to the closure of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, only 64.7% of Year 9 females completed the 2-dose HPV vaccination course in 2019/20, compared with 83.9% in 2018/19Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of schools meant that the delivery of the 2019/20 school immunisation programmes was paused. This has had a significant impact on the uptake of the HPV vaccination programme in the 2019/20 academic year. For example, In England 64.7% of Year 9 females completed the 2-dose HPV vaccination course in 2019/20, compared with 83.9% in 2018/19 (Public Health England, 2020a).

Secondary school age children are also due a teenage booster of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, and a dose of the MenACWY vaccine, which protects against serious infections including meningitis and septicaemia. The MenACWY vaccine was added to the national immunisation programme in August 2015, and can be requested from the GP up until the young person’s 25th birthday. It is advised that students going to university for the first time ensure that they have had their dose. Before the pandemic, the average coverage for the school based MenACWY adolescent vaccination programme in England in 2018 was 84.6% (Public Health England 2019b). Average vaccine coverage in areas where the NHS delivered MenACWY vaccine to Year 9 students in 2019 to 2020 was 58.3% compared to 88.0% in 2018 to 2019 (Public Health England, 2020b)

At the time of writing the Covid-19 vaccination programme is being rolled out to young people age 16 and over, and to young people under 16 with pre-existing health conditions.

All data correct as of 1st November 2021