PAS: Personal Beliefs, Barriers Affect HPV Vaccination

May 5, 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 presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies' meeting held in Honolulu this week.

MONDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- 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 presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies' meeting held in Honolulu this week.

Jessica A. Kahn, M.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed data from 9,436 mothers of adolescents. They found that 86 percent were somewhat or extremely likely to have their daughters vaccinated if they were 16 to 18 years old. That proportion dropped to 68 percent for 13- to 15-year-olds and 49 percent 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 another related study, published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Kahn and colleagues analyzed data from 409 sexually experienced teens and women, aged 13 to 26 years old, 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 high 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.

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