Are adolescents ready for tuberculosis vaccine trials?
ABSTRACT Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine trials are planned in adolescents in a high tuberculosis burden rural area near Cape Town, South Africa. To determine the knowledge and attitudes of adolescents about tuberculosis, vaccines and vaccine trials, a representative sample of adolescent learners was chosen from high schools in the trial area. A questionnaire was administered and focus group discussions held with the group and a sample of their parents. The questionnaire response rate was 65%. Knowledge of tuberculosis was fair 63.7% but knowledge of vaccines poor 41.9% based on a TB and vaccine knowledge score, respectively. Willingness to participate in vaccine trials will be influenced by the type of procedures involved (60% willing to answer questions, 43% willing to be examined, 32% willing to undergo skin tests and 39% willing to undergo blood draw). In general, better knowledge was statistically associated with greater willingness to participate in study procedures except for the blood draw. The focus group discussions showed that adolescents and their parents were positive about participating in vaccine trials but concerns about safety and the provision of adequate information should be considered when planning TB vaccine trials. This study suggests that TB vaccine trials would be acceptable amongst adolescents in this community with certain provisos.