Recipients of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reminder letters were more likely to start the HPV vaccines series within 6 months than those not receiving the reminder, a recent study found. The New York State Department of Health sent reminder letters to the parents or guardians of eligible adolescents aged 11 to 13 throughout the state. Subjects were randomized into in intervention group and a control group. Researchers found:
- The analysis included 81,558 eligible recipients.
- Letter recipients were 2% more likely to initiate vaccination within 6 months vs control subjects.
- Similar effect sizes were observed among age and gender strata.
- The intervention cost was $30.95 for each adolescent who initiated the HPV vaccine series.
Coley S, Hoefer D, Rausch-Phung E. A population-based reminder intervention to improve human papillomavirus vaccination rates among adolescents at routine vaccination age. [Published online ahead of print July 7, 2018]. Vaccine. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.06.056.
There are approximately 27,000 cancers each year that are related to HPV. The current HPV vaccine is very effective at decreasing the vast majority of these cancers, but we still have an uphill battle in getting all of our adolescents vaccinated. Simplifying the dosing regimen to 2 doses if begun before the age of 15 should go a long way to helping us increase our vaccination rates. In addition, we should use all the instruments at our disposal to try to encourage patients to be vaccinated. This is just one example of a tool that did show some modest improvement. This is battle that needs to be fought on multiple fronts. —John Russell, MD