Personal beliefs, barriers affect HPV vaccination

June 16, 2008

Mothers may be less likely to have daughters under the age of 13 vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) than they would older daughters, despite current recommendations, according to research recently presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting held in Honolulu.

Mothers may be less likely to have daughters under the age of 13 vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) than they would older daughters, despite current recommendations, according to research recently presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting held in Honolulu.

Jessica A. Kahn, MD, of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed data from 9,436 mothers of adolescents. They found that 86% were somewhat or extremely likely to have their daughters vaccinated if they were 16 to 18 years old. That proportion dropped to 68% for 13- to 15-year-olds and 49% for 9- to 12-year-olds. A scale assessing mothers’ beliefs about HPV vaccines-including beliefs on its efficacy and anticipated clinician recommendations-was a strong independent predictor of intention to vaccinate.

In a related study, published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Kahn and colleagues analyzed data from 409 sexually experienced teens and women, ages 13 to 26 years, to assess factors related to their thoughts on getting vaccinated. Factors associated with intention to be vaccinated included higher perceived severity of genital warts or cervical cancer and history of pregnancy. Factors associated with a strong belief in the ability to get vaccinated included insurance coverage and fewer practical barriers affecting vaccination.

“Our findings, in combination with the growing literature on HPV vaccine implementation, suggest that a comprehensive approach involving clinicians, parents, health educators, advocacy groups, and policy-makers will be essential to fully achieve the potential health effect of HPV vaccines,” the authors of the study conclude.

Two co-authors of the journal study disclosed financial relationships with Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Pasteur, and other companies.

More information on the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting is available at http://www.pas-meeting.org/2008%20Honolulu/.

Kahn JA, Rosenthal SL, Jin Y, et al. Rates of human papillomavirus vaccination, attitudes about vaccination, and human papillomavirus prevalence in young women. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;111:1103-1110.