Coverage levels for HPV vaccine are improving but are still inadequate. Results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2022 National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen) indicate that for the first time since 2013, HPV vaccination initiation did not increase among adolescents age 13 through 17 years. HPV vaccination initiation actually fell among adolescents insured by Medicaid and remained lowest among the uninsured. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program ensures access to HPV and other routine vaccines for adolescents who are uninsured or Medicaid-eligible at no cost. It is important that families are aware of this entitlement and the importance of HPV vaccination.
In 2022, 76% of adolescents had received at least 1 dose of HPV vaccine and 62.6% were up to date with HPV vaccination. A summary of the 2022 NIS-Teen survey and trends are available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/mm7234a3.htm.
Providers can improve uptake of this life-saving vaccine in two main ways. First, studies have shown that missed opportunities are occurring. Up to 90% (depending on year of birth) of girls unvaccinated for HPV had a healthcare visit where they received another vaccine such as Tdap, but not HPV. If HPV vaccine had been administered at the same visit, vaccination coverage for one or more doses could be 90% instead of 70%. Second, research has shown that not receiving a healthcare provider’s recommendation for HPV vaccine was one of the main reasons parents reported for not vaccinating their adolescent children.
CDC urges healthcare providers to increase the consistency and strength of their recommendation of HPV vaccine, especially when patients are age 11 or 12 years. CDC’s “Talking to Parents about HPV Vaccine,” available at www.cdc.gov/hpv/hcp/for-hcp-tipsheet-hpv.pdf can help providers with these conversations. In order to increase the opportunities to complete the two-dose series on time, some healthcare providers prefer initiating vaccination beginning at age 9 years. There is no down-side to initiating the series at that time.
For more detailed information about HPV vaccination strategies for providers, visit www.cdc.gov/hpv/hcp/index.html.