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Research project

Doves study

What is the DOVES HPV study?

Despite the profound and measurable health benefits of immunisation programs in Australia, research shows that programs are significantly less likely to reach and vaccinate young people with disability. People with a disability face additional barriers to cervical screening and access to cancer treatment, thereby receiving the HPV vaccination is important as it provides a crucial safety net against HPV related cancers. A study in Victorian specialist schools found that HPV vaccine uptake was 17-22% lower in young people with disability than their typically developing peers.

Young people with disability have unique health care needs and may benefit from disability-inclusive immunisation services that would more fully address their needs in a supportive, inclusive, and accessible manner.

The DOVES HPV study was developed to address these issues and will roll out in Victoria. This study operates within an inclusive research approach, prioritising and valuing the experiences of young people with disability and those who care for and support them. The project is further guided by an intersectional socio-ecological framework.

This framework acknowledges that multiple, overlapping barriers and facilitators at different levels can have a significant impact on access to and uptake of vaccinations for young people with disability.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) is working in partnership with Cancer Council Victoria, the Victorian Department of Health and the Victorian Department of Education and Training, to conduct the study “Developing Optimised Vaccination Engagement in Specialist Schools for HPV” (DOVES HPV).

What is the aim of this study?

This study aims to identify the barriers and facilitators for HPV vaccination among adolescents with a disability, and ways to optimise these services. We hope that these findings can then be used to inform the development of disability-inclusive services and supports to improve the immunisation experience and uptake of HPV vaccinations among young people with disability. 

Who can participate?

Eligible Victorian specialist schools and key stakeholders from participating schools will be invited by MCRI to participate in the research and will be provided with further information. Participation is voluntary.

General health and wellbeing resources

We are mindful of the pressure that school communities are under during this difficult time. If you, your child or students feel worried or would like further support, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider. There are also community supports available during this time. Some of these are listed below.

If you would like more information about the study, please contact the study team led by Associate Professor Margie Danchin by emailing