In the last study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseasesscientists have gained insight into the range of HPV vaccines among adolescents.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted viral infection. There are over 100 HPV varieties and it is thought to be the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is contracted through sexual contact; however, it can also be shrunk by skin-skin contact. Sexual intercourse is not required for HPV contracting. The HPV virus can go away alone, but if it stays in the body, it can cause many health problems. These health problems include cervical cancer and other cancers, genital warts and warts on other areas of the body.
In a study published by The Journal of Infectious Diseasesscientists say the Advisory Committee on Vaccination Practices encourages the introduction of an HPV vaccine at the age of 11 or 12. This is so that adolescents can be fully vaccinated at the age of 13. If the teenager receives a vaccination before the age of 15th birthday, only two doses are required. If they receive an HPV vaccine after age 15, three doses are required for full immunization.
In 2016, only 43% of American teenagers were completely vaccinated against HPV. Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth suggest that at the age of 15, more than 10% of women and over 15% of men experience sexual introduction.
Researchers analyzed data from the National National Immunisation Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen). NIS-Teen randomly examined parents of young people (aged 13 to 17). This was completed by a random phone call and was carried out in the United States. If parents agreed, NIS-Teen inspectors contacted the teen's physician (s) regarding the vaccination history.
After receiving the vaccination history, the inspectors marked the youth as HPV vaccination. The factors such as the state in which they were staying, the number of health professionals, race / ethnicity, age, gender and status of poverty were reviewed. Of the 43,071 parents, 20,880 people contacted health inspectors. Researchers only analyzed data from people living in the United States and the District of Columbia for a total of 20,475 parents.
Less than 50% of teenagers received full HPV vaccination
The results revealed that less than 50% (43.4%) of adolescents aged 13 to 17 received full HPV vaccination. In addition, the number of adolescents vaccinated against HPV at the age of 13 was just over 15% (15.7%). Further analysis showed that 34.8% of young people received full HPV vaccination at age 15.
Young people were more likely to catch an HPV vaccine. Hispanic youth showed higher rates of vaccination than any other race or ethnicity. Young people with a lower poverty status in the household showed higher rates of vaccination than young people with other home status.
Interestingly, if teenagers had more than one healthcare provider, they would not be more likely to be up to date with the HPV vaccine. This may be due to the lack of a specific "home" in the case of medical problems. Countries such as Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico and Rhode Island have shown the highest rates for full HPV vaccinations. While states such as Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming have shown the lowest numbers for full HPV vaccinations.
Major concerns about incomplete HPV vaccines
After reviewing the data, the researchers are very concerned that HPV vaccines are not introduced and supplemented by the recommended age. If a teenager receives a HPV vaccine before experiencing sexual activity, the vaccine will be more effective than if it received it later.
The HPV vaccine is not the only recommended vaccine at this early age. Also recommended are acellular pertussis vaccine, diphtheria vaccine, tetanus vaccine and quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Receiving one or more of these vaccines increases the chances of a teenager receiving more or all of them.
The limitations of this study included a limited sample size. In addition, the response rate to accidental calls within NIS-Teen was low. Although there were some limitations, it was a strong study because it included the US and the District of Columbia. Low rates of HPV vaccinations are definitely a problem. More research on this subject will reveal the scope of HPV vaccination in other areas and hopefully it will educate society about its importance.
Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer
- Bednarczyk, Robert A., Ellingson, Mallory K. and Omer, Saad B. "Vaccination of the human papilloma virus before 13 and 15 years of age: analysis of teenagers' data from the national vaccination study". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2019. 1-5. Online.
- Infection with human papillomavirus. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/human-papillomavirus-infection#symptoms, evaluation February 2, 2019.
- HPV vaccination rates remain critically low among younger teens in the US. 2019, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/idso-hvr011619.php, evaluation February 2, 2019.