Slightly more than half of parents who said they intended to vaccinate their adolescents against HPV actually followed through with the vaccination, according to results from a poster presented here.

“Not all parents with intentions to vaccinate actually follow through with initiation of the HPV vaccine,” Beth Auslander, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, told Infectious Disease News. “So, we need to explore reasons for the lack of follow-through among these families.”

Auslander and colleagues examined the relationship between intention and vaccine initiation in 189 parents of unvaccinated adolescents aged 11 to 15 years. All of the parents included in the study had indicated that they wanted to get their adolescents vaccinated at either a school-based health center or a university-based clinic, and through phone interviews the researchers collected information on demographics, parents’ knowledge of HPV infection and vaccination and health beliefs.

According to Auslander, 52% of the adolescents in their study initiated the HPV vaccine series. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that when factors such as race/ethnicity, type of parent household, and work status were held constant, the odds of parents initiating HPV vaccination decreased with every year increase in the adolescent’s age (OR=0.71; 95% CI, 0.56-0.89). Odds of initiating HPV vaccination also were lower among parents of adolescents with public insurance compared with parents of adolescents with no insurance (OR=0.38; 95% CI, 0.15-0.96). Parents’ knowledge of HPV infection and vaccination, as well as their health beliefs, were not significantly associated with initiating vaccination.

"We believe these data show that there is indeed a gap between parental intentions and behavior with regard to HPV vaccination and also highlight the need for future research to begin to identify variables in that gap,” Auslander said. “Such variables can then be targeted in interventions to increase rates of HPV vaccination, thereby preventing HPV infection illnesses like cervical and anal cancers.” – John Schoen

For more information:
Auslander B. Abstract #P21. Presented at: Annual Conference on Vaccine Research; April 28-30, 2014; Bethesda, Md.