Health care providers should routinely assess the vaccination status of their patients, especially when they have a well-child visit, to ensure their patients are fully protected against human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study published online in Pediatrics today.
Peng-jun Lu, MD, PhD, from the Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other researchers looked at HPV vaccination rates after 2011, when the HPV vaccine was recommended for routine use among males aged 11 or 12 years and males aged 13-21 years who had not been vaccinated previously or who had not completed the three-dose series.
The researchers noted that HPV coverage among male adolescents continued to be low, leaving a large population susceptible to HPV infection as they mature into adulthood. According to data analyzed by the researchers from the 2013 National Immunization Survey-Teen, HPV vaccination coverage with one or more doses was 34.6%, while series completion was only 13.9%.
Vaccination coverage was higher among adolescents who had visited a physician in the past 12 months, and with teens who had a well-child visit with a physician at age 11-12 years.
The most common reason parents reported for not getting the vaccine for their boys was their health care provider didn’t recommend it (24%). Other reasons included parents felt it was not needed or not necessary (18.9%), lack of knowledge (16.4%), the adolescent was not sexually active (8.1%), and safety concerns or potential side effects (7.3%).
Each year in the United States, an estimated 26,000 new cancers are attributable to HPV, including about 17,000 in women and 9,000 in men. Approximately 79 million people are currently infected with HPV, and 14 million people will be infected each year.
Efforts to provide comprehensive, accessible, and appropriate communication messages on HPV by healthcare and public health professionals should be ongoing and directed to male adolescents and parents, according to the study researchers.