Recent research in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that, along with other clinical characteristics related to vaccination, female clinicians were more likely to administer vaccinations to adolescents during acute care visits.
“Because little is known about gender-related differences in delivery of adolescent preventive care, we examined the relationship between clinician, child, and guardian gender and receipt of HPV vaccine compared to Tdap and MCV4 vaccines, which are not associated with a sexually transmitted infection or gender-specific diseases,” Laura Johnson Faherty, MD, MPH, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues wrote.
The researchers studied electronic health records of adolescents aged 11 to 18 years who visited 27 primary care clinics in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Network between 2009 and 2014. Faherty and colleagues included visits during and after which the first HPV vaccination was due. After adjustment, data were analyzed to estimate the proportion of capture opportunities for HPV vaccine, Tdap and MCV4 administration.
Study results showed no overall difference in the proportion of adolescents vaccinated between male and female clinicians during preventive visits. The researchers found, however, that female clinicians delivered all three vaccines significantly more often than male clinicians during acute care visits. Specifically, more HPV (2.7% vs. 1.2%; P < .001), Tdap (6.4% vs. 4.1%; P = .013), and MCV4 (6% vs. 3.7%; P = .013) vaccinations were given by female clinicians as opposed to males.
The researchers wrote that parent/guardian gender was not associated with vaccination rates. Faherty and colleagues also said HPV vaccinations were more often administered to adolescent girls; however, this gender gap began to close during the study period.
“This study highlights the continued need for both male and female clinicians to capture opportunities for initiating the HPV vaccine series at acute adolescent visits,” Faherty and colleagues wrote. “Future research should confirm and further investigate the explanations for an increased ‘prevention orientation’ of female pediatric clinicians at acute visits and explore if differences exist in other preventive health care contexts.” – by David Costill
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.