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1.  Implementation of a national school-based Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine campaign in Fiji: knowledge, vaccine acceptability and information needs of parents 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:1257.
Background
In 2008 Fiji implemented a nationwide Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine campaign targeting all girls aged 9–12 years through the existing school-based immunisation program. Parents of vaccine-eligible girls were asked to provide written consent for vaccination. The purpose of this study was to describe parents’ knowledge, experiences and satisfaction with the campaign, the extent to which information needs for vaccine decision-making were met, and what factors were associated with vaccine consent.
Methods
Following vaccine introduction, a cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted with parents of vaccine-eligible girls from randomly selected schools, stratified by educational district. Factors related to vaccine consent were explored using Generalised Estimating Equations.
Results
There were 560 vaccine-eligible girls attending the participating 19 schools at the time of the campaign. Among these, 313 parents could be contacted, with 293 agreeing to participate (93.6 %). Almost 80 % of participants reported having consented to HPV vaccination (230/293, 78.5 %). Reported knowledge of cervical cancer and HPV prior to the campaign was very low. Most respondents reported that they were satisfied with their access to information to make an informed decision about HPV vaccination (196/293, 66.9 %). and this was very strongly associated with provision of consent. Despite their young age, the vaccine-eligible girls were often involved in the discussion and decision-making. Most consenting parents were satisfied with the campaign and their decision to vaccinate, with almost 90 % indicating they would consent to future HPV vaccination. However, negative media reports about the vaccine campaign created confusion and concern. Local health staff were cited as a trusted source of information to guide decision-making. Just over half of the participants who withheld consent cited vaccine safety fears as the primary reason (23/44, 52.3 %).
Conclusion
This is the first reported experience of HPV introduction in a Pacific Island nation. In a challenging environment with limited community knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer, media controversy and a short lead-time for community education, Fiji has implemented an HPV vaccine campaign that was largely acceptable to the community and achieved a high level of participation. Community sensitisation and education is critical and should include a focus on the local health workforce and the vaccine target group.
doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2579-3
PMCID: PMC4684606  PMID: 26684658
HPV vaccination; Fiji; Vaccine acceptance; Vaccine decision-making
2.  Characterization of 19A-like 19F pneumococcal isolates from Papua New Guinea and Fiji 
Molecular identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 19F is routinely performed by PCR targeting the wzy gene of the capsular biosynthetic locus. However, 19F isolates with genetic similarity to 19A have been reported in the United States and Brazil. We screened 78 pneumococcal carriage isolates and found six 19F wzy variants that originated from children in Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Isolates were characterized using multilocus sequence typing and opsonophagocytic assays. The 19F wzy variants displayed similar susceptibility to anti-19F IgG antibodies compared to standard 19F isolates. Our findings indicate that these 19F variants may be more common than previously believed.
doi:10.1016/j.nmni.2015.06.008
PMCID: PMC4547413  PMID: 26339490
Antibodies; Capsule; Pneumococcus; Serotyping; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Surveillance
3.  Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage following Reduced Doses of a 7-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine and a 23-Valent Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine Booster▿ †  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2010;17(12):1970-1976.
This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of a reduced-dose 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) primary series followed by a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPS) booster on nasopharyngeal (NP) pneumococcal carriage. For this purpose, Fijian infants aged 6 weeks were randomized to receive 0, 1, 2, or 3 PCV doses. Within each group, half received 23vPPS at 12 months. NP swabs were taken at 6, 9, 12, and 17 months and were cultured for Streptococcus pneumoniae. Isolates were serotyped by multiplex PCR and a reverse line blot assay. There were no significant differences in PCV vaccine type (VT) carriage between the 3- and 2-dose groups at 12 months. NP VT carriage was significantly higher (P, <0.01) in the unvaccinated group than in the 3-dose group at the age of 9 months. There appeared to be a PCV dose effect in the cumulative proportion of infants carrying the VT, with less VT carriage occurring with more doses of PCV. Non-PCV serotype (NVT) carriage rates were similar for all PCV groups. When groups were pooled by receipt or nonreceipt of 23vPPS at 12 months, there were no differences in pneumococcal, VT, or NVT carriage rates between the 2 groups at the age of 17 months. In conclusion, there appeared to be a PCV dose effect on VT carriage, with less VT carriage occurring with more doses of PCV. By the age of 17 months, NVT carriage rates were similar for all groups. 23vPPS had no impact on carriage, despite the substantial boosts in antibody levels.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00117-10
PMCID: PMC3008188  PMID: 20943882
4.  Safety and Immunogenicity of the 23-Valent Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine at 12 months of age, following One, Two, or Threes Doses of the 7-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Infancy 
Vaccine  2010;28(18):3086-3094.
Fijian infants aged 6 weeks were stratified by ethnicity and randomized to receive 0, 1, 2, or 3 PCV-7 doses with or without the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV-23) at 12 months. Strong booster effects for all 7 PCV-7 serotypes were elicited, and for 4/7 serotypes these responses were highest in the single PCV-7 group. There were fourfold rises in GMC for all non-PCV-7 serotypes. By 17 months the PPV-23 group still had significantly higher GMC (each p<0.001) for all serotypes. The PPV-23 was well tolerated and induced excellent responses for all serotypes which were greatest in the single PCV-7 group.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.02.065
PMCID: PMC2857918  PMID: 20199764
Pneumococcal; polysaccharide; booster
5.  As a Bacterial Culture Medium, Citrated Sheep Blood Agar Is a Practical Alternative to Citrated Human Blood Agar in Laboratories of Developing Countries 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(9):3346-3351.
Human blood agar (HuBA) is widely used in developing countries for the isolation of bacteria from clinical specimens. This study compared citrated sheep blood agar (CSBA) and HuBA with defibrinated horse blood agar and defibrinated sheep blood agar (DSBA) for the isolation and antibiotic susceptibility testing of reference and clinical strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus. Reference and clinical strains of all organisms were diluted in brain heart infusion and a clinical specimen of cerebrospinal fluid and cultured on all agars. Viable counts, colony morphology, and colony size were recorded. Susceptibility testing for S. pneumoniae and S. pyogenes was performed on defibrinated sheep blood Mueller-Hinton agar, citrated sheep blood Mueller-Hinton agar (CSB MHA), and human blood Mueller-Hinton agar plates. For all organisms, the colony numbers were similar on all agars. Substantially smaller colony sizes and absent or minimal hemolysis were noted on HuBA for all organisms. Antibiotic susceptibility results for S. pneumoniae were similar for the two sheep blood agars; however, larger zone sizes were displayed on HuBA, and quality control for the reference strain failed on HuBA. For S. pyogenes, larger zone sizes were demonstrated on HuBA and CSBA than on DSBA. Poor hemolysis made interpretation of the zone sizes difficult on HuBA. CSBA is an acceptable alternative for the isolation of these organisms. The characteristic morphology is not evident, and hemolysis is poor on HuBA; and so HuBA is not recommended for use for the isolation or the susceptibility testing of any of these organisms. CSB MHA may be suitable for use for the susceptibility testing of S. pneumoniae.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02631-05
PMCID: PMC1594681  PMID: 16954271

Results 1-5 (5)