Data Shows 60% of Parents of Unvaccinated Children Have No Plans to Initiate HPV Vaccine

Survey data from the 2017-2018 National Immunization Study shows that 60% of parents with children unvaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) have no plans to initiate the vaccine series in the future.  The findings were published in The Lancet Public Health.

Researchers assessed a cross-sectional study comprised of responses from over 82,000 parents and caregivers of U.S. children ages 13 to 17. The study reported that parents of 1 in 4 adolescents who received their first HPV vaccine had no intentions of completing the dosing regimen. The results showed that in seven states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, and West Virginia) more than 30% of parents reported their teen would not receive subsequent vaccine doses. The researchers found that lack of health care provider recommendation was the most common reported cause for failing to complete the series.

“The hesitancy of parents to protect their child against HPV is troubling because improving HPV vaccination coverage is our only option to curb the rising burden of cancers caused by this virus,” said Kalyani Sonawane, PhD, the study’s first and corresponding author and an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health in a press release. “The silver lining here is that these reasons are addressable. Health care providers can play a vital role in combatting misinformation by educating parents about HPV vaccine safety and benefits, and they can also emphasize the importance of series completion.”

Ashish A. Deshmukh, PhD, MPH, senior author and an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health added: “Our findings suggest that parental reluctance to complete HPV vaccine series for their teen might be a major impediment to achieving the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80% coverage.”