MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anna Beavis, MD, MPH
The Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21287-128
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
We wanted to look at reasons parents don’t vaccinate their children against HPV, including how those reasons have changed over time from 2010-2016 and how those reasons are different between boys and girls in the most recent data from 2016. We used a nationwide dataset which is publically available from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) – the National Immunization Survey-Teen, or NIS-Teen - which surveys parents of teens ages 13-17 years old every year to determine rates of all recommended vaccinations. In parents who report that they don’t intend to vaccinate their child against HPV , the survey asks parents why.
We found that from 2010 to 2016, the percentage of parents reporting concerns about their child not being sexually active yet went down significantly for both boys and girls. Also, in boys specifically, parents reported male gender as a less common reason for not vaccinating. For both boys and girls, we found that concerns about safety and side effects, necessity, and lack of knowledge about the vaccine were common reasons for not planning to vaccinate. Also, 10% of parents of girls vs. 20% of parents of boys reporting never having a provider recommendation for the vaccine as their primary reason for not vaccinating.
These results may reflect the growing public understanding of the HPV vaccine as a vaccine which is best given before exposure, so before initiation of sexual activity between the ages of 11 and 12, and that it is recommended for both boys and girls. Also, over 80% of people will have an HPV infection in their lifetime, so everyone should get vaccinated regardless of anticipated sexual activity.
Additionally, providers should focus their counseling and recommendation on improving knowledge about the HPV vaccine, including its decade-long track record of safety and necessity. (more…)