More providers have been recommending human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to their adolescent male patients in recent years, and the effort seems to be paying off: HPV vaccination coverage among boys aged 13 to 17 years increased from 8.3% in 2011 to 57.3% in 2016, while the proportion of providers who recommended the vaccination to this patient group increased from 14.2% to 65.5%.
In addition, vaccination coverage of male adolescents was significantly higher in 2016 in those with a provider recommendation than in those without it (68.8% vs 35.4%).
These findings are based on an analysis of data from the National Immunization Survey–Teen, a national telephone survey, which included information for 9712 male adolescents.
The prevalence of provider recommendations for HPV vaccine among all adolescents aged 13 to 17 years ranged widely, from a low of 45.9% in Wyoming to a high of 82.4% in Maine. Also, HPV coverage in this age group among males varied, from 48.5% in Indiana to 90.6% in Rhode Island among those with a provider recommendation, and from 20.1% in South Dakota to 82.6% in Rhode Island among those without one.
Among all youngsters in the studied age group, characteristics independently associated with greater likelihood of HPV vaccination included, in addition to getting a provider recommendation, age 16 to 17 years; being black or Hispanic; Medicaid insurance; having 2 or more physician contacts in the previous 12 months; and living in an urban or suburban area (Lu PJ, et al. J Pediatr. 2019;206:33-41).
Thoughts from Dr. Burke
First, pat yourself on the back for the improving rates of HPV coverage in teenagers, both male and female. This and other studies describe the important role of a pediatrician’s recommendation in vaccine uptake. You are doing a good job! Now, there is more work to do.