BACKGROUND: School-based human papillomavirus (HPV)/cervical cancer vaccination programs have been implemented widely, but few studies have investigated the knowledge and views of school staff about this new vaccine.
METHODS: Prior to the introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2009, we surveyed staff at 14 socioeconomically diverse schools to assess views toward this new program, including staff's information needs, ideas on promoting return of consent forms, and uptake of the vaccine among minority groups.
RESULTS: Of 583 invited staff, 456 participated (78%). About 58% of the participants knew about the link between HPV and cervical cancer, and that HPV is passed on during sexual contact. When asked if vaccination would increase sexual activity at a younger age, 71% disagreed, 6% agreed, and 23% were unsure. The majority of staff agreed that vaccine uptake could be improved through provision of information and consent forms in indigenous and Pacific languages; ensuring parents are well informed and girls educated about the vaccine; involving community groups and by extending availability of the vaccine into community settings as well as school and primary care. Three fourths of the staff surveyed wanted more information about the program before and during its implementation.
CONCLUSIONS: This important group of stakeholders requires appropriate information so that they can support girls and their parents in deciding whether to have the vaccine. School staff members are potential health advocates with whom consultation should occur before and during the implementation of such programs.