Giving the human papillomavirus vaccine to children under the age of 11 could help encourage timely vaccination, researchers report.
About 45,300 human papillomavirus (HPV) -related cancers occur in the United States each year. HPV vaccination can prevent up to 80% of these cancers. While increasing HPV vaccination rates has been a public health priority since 2014, the improvement in these numbers has been slow and uneven.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding ways to increase and maintain HPV vaccination has gained additional importance. National vaccinations for children and adolescents during the pandemic, including HPV vaccination, initially decreased by more than 70% and remained below pre-pandemic levels.
To find ways to improve vaccination rates, researchers developed a program called System Development and Education to Improve HPV Vaccination (DOSE HPV) that began between 2016 and in four practices in affiliated community health centers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) 2018.
The intervention showed double-digit improvements in HPV vaccine initiation. While encouraging, the researchers wanted to see if the improvements continued after the intervention was completed.
The researchers examined the monthly HPV vaccination protection in the adolescents aged 9 to 18 who received basic care in the two practices from March 2016 (before the intervention) to October 2020.
They looked at how many adolescents in different age groups started and completed the series of vaccinations over time. Both practices decided to start the HPV vaccine series at the age of 10 to give teenagers more chances to complete the series before their 13th birthday.
“The data showed that improvements persisted for four years after completing primary vaccination, and the rate of adolescents taking the HPV series of vaccines by 13th nearly twice the nationwide completion rate for 13-year-olds (45.6%) ), ”Says Corresponding Author Rebecca Perkins, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologist at Boston University Medical Center.
This is believed to be the first study to examine the sustainability of interventions four years after implementation, says Perkins.
“The continued improvement over time shows that these types of programs can be a good public health investment. It also suggests that the start of the HPV vaccine series before Jan.
The study appears in Journal of Lower Genital Disorders.
Source: Boston University