Reasons for Delaying, Refusing HPV Vaccine for Girls

The coverage rate of the human papillomavirus vaccine remains low among girls, and a new study assessed reasons that parents might delay or refuse the vaccination.

Since coverage rate of the human papillomavirus vaccine is still low among girls, new research in Clinical Pediatrics was aimed at discovering the cause for parents delaying or refusing the vaccination for their daughters.

Data reported by parents of more than 4,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 revealed that 69% of parents did not delay or refuse the HPV vaccination for their daughters, according to Christina Dorrell, MD, MPH, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Office of Clinical Affairs and researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, 17% of parents refused the vaccine, 11% delayed only and 3% both delayed and refused the HPV vaccine.

From the data, the authors of the study determined that 83% of girls who only delayed the vaccine, 19% of those who refused, and 46% of those who both delayed and refused later went on to initiate the vaccine or intended to initiate the vaccine within a year.

Dorrell and colleagues also discovered that parents of girls who were white, in households with higher income and had mothers with higher education levels were far more likely to delay and/or refuse the vaccine.

“The most common reasons for nonvaccination were concerns about lasting health problems from the vaccine, wondering about the vaccine’s effectiveness, and believing the vaccine is not needed,” the investigators wrote.

Although, the low vaccination rate among girls is partially explained by the vaccine being refused or delayed, an older study found that physicians don’t always offer the vaccine. A year ago a study in Family Medicine found that 79% of recent family medicine graduates offered the HPV vaccine most of the time to adolescent female patients and while 83% supported the use of the vaccine in males, less than 8% actually offered it.