Room for improvement in HPV vaccine uptake rates

Image: PD 

1. Vaccination rates were low among women seeking prenatal care in Southeast Texas and demonstrated ethnic and racial disparities. 

2. Women who had not initiated or completed the vaccination series were willing to receive a free injection in the hospital after delivering their baby. 

Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)       

Study Rundown: This study found that among women seeking prenatal care at public clinics, HPV vaccination rates were low due to a variety of reasons and that women expressed willingness to receive a free vaccination in the hospital setting after delivery. A prior smaller study in the northeast yielded similar results. The present work confirms that HPV vaccine uptake is low and that the post-delivery hospital stay may be an ideal time to expand the reach of the vaccine. Limitations of the study includes cross-sectional design, interviewer bias and recall bias. Future studies might evaluate the proportion of women actually consenting to a postpartum vaccination and explore trends in other populations.

Click to read the study in AJOG

Relevant Reading: Acceptance and compliance with postpartum human papillomavirus vaccination

In-Depth [cross-sectional study]: This study evaluated rates of HPV vaccination, barriers to vaccination and willingness to receive a free postpartum vaccination among 500 women ≤26 years of age seeking prenatal care at a public clinic. Outcomes evaluated include initiation and completion of the vaccine series and receptiveness to receiving a free injection after delivery.

Overall, 13.0% of women had initiated the series and 7.6% had completed it. Vaccination rates were lowest among Hispanic women, with only 7.6% having received at least one dose and 4.0% having received all three doses. Hispanic women were more likely to report lack of knowledge about the vaccine as a barrier to vaccination (p<0.01). Black women were more likely to indicate affordability (p=0.004) and side effects (p=0.001) as barriers. The majority of the study population (82.7%) who had not completed the vaccine series reported they would be willing to receive a free injection while in the hospital after delivering their child.

By Denise Pong, MPH and Leah Hawkins, MD, MPH

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