“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Does the HPV Vaccine Come With a Moral Hazard?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Ali Moghtaderi PhD MBA
Assistant Research Professor and
Avi Dor PhD
Professor of Health Policy and Economics
Milken Institute School of Public Health
George Washington University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In this study, we investigate the effect of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination on participation in Pap test, which is one of the most effective cancer screening interventions. Cervical cancers are causally linked to HPV infections. The Pap test is a diagnostic procedure for early detection of cervical cancer. HPV vaccination provides partial protection against cervical cancer, and the Pap test is strongly recommended for women 21 to 65 years of age even after vaccination. If vaccination leads to a reduction in testing participation, it could contribute to greater incidence and severity of cervical cancer. Note that we focus on relatively older women (age 22 or older) who were not vaccinated at younger ages. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: We find that HPV vaccine initiation is positively associated with the probability of participation in the Pap test (HPV vaccine initiation increased the probability of having a Pap test by 13 to 22 percentage points, depending on the statistical model used.). We hypothesize that healthcare providers were able to correct any misinformation about the Pap test and counsel patients about the need for periodic cervical cancer screenings even following vaccination. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Despite consensus among researchers and healthcare providers about the efficacy and health benefits of HPV vaccination, the uptake of the vaccine is remarkably low in the United States. Our findings that HPV vaccination increases the likelihood of getting a Pap test can contribute to the discussion surrounding HPV vaccination. It also emphasizes the importance of adding and strengthening policy interventions aimed at increasing uptake of HPV vaccination among older women. Our research also underscores the role of healthcare providers in the uptake of preventive measures. 


Med Care Res Rev. 2019 May 17:1077558719847887. doi: 10.1177/1077558719847887. [Epub ahead of print]

Immunization and Moral Hazard: The HPV Vaccine and Uptake of Cancer Screening.

Moghtaderi A1, Dor A1.


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Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD