January 05, 2016
1 min read

Strong recommendations for HPV vaccine lacking among pediatricians, family practitioners

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Nearly one-third of physicians reported not strongly recommending HPV vaccination at patients’ 11-12 year well visit, and they were even less likely to recommend the vaccination for boys, according to recently published data.

Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of pediatricians (n = 582) and family practitioners (n = 364) to assess self-reported practices for recommending and administering HPV vaccine, and to determine frequency of parental deferral of HPV vaccination.

Results demonstrated that 60% of pediatricians and 59% of family practitioners reported strongly recommending HPV vaccine for girls aged 11 to 12 years. For boys aged 11 to 12 years, 52% of pediatricians and 41% of family practitioners strongly recommended the HPV vaccination. Eighty-four percent of pediatricians and 75% of family practitioners reported frequently or always discussing HPV vaccination at patients’ 11-12 year well visit, according to the researchers.

Physicians who occasionally or never discussed HPV vaccination at well visits were more likely to be family practitioners (aOR = 2; 95% CI, 1.1-3.5), be male (aOR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-3.1), disagree that parents will accept HPV vaccine if discussed alongside other vaccinations (aOR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.2), report that between 25% and 49% (aOR = 2.8; 95% CI, 1.1-6.8) or more than 50% of parents defer vaccination (aOR = 7.8; 95% CI, 3.4-17.6) and express concern about waning immunity (aOR = 3.4; 95% CI, 1.8-6.4), according to the researchers.

More than half of surveyed physicians reported that HPV vaccination was deferred by more than 25% of parents, according to the researchers.

The researchers noted that further public health efforts may help combat parental deferment of HPV vaccination.  

“Our results indicate that physicians themselves may need a clearer understanding of the reasons to vaccinate against HPV at 11 to 12 years old vs. later in adolescence and the reasons to vaccinate boys. In addition, physicians may need guidance on discussing these reasons with parents. Future research could investigate whether public health efforts directed at parents, education of physicians by professional organizations, and tools from the CDC and professional organizations will increase physicians’ discussion of the HPV vaccine and strength of recommendation for 11- to 12-year-old girls and boys,” Allison and colleagues concluded. – by Casey Hower

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.