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Race Is a Factor in Completing Three-Dose HPV Vaccine Series


 

Major Finding: Of girls and women who self-identified as black, 11% received all three doses of the HPV vaccine, compared with 22% of the white females and 15% of those identified as other races.

Data Source: A retrospective review of medical records on 3,297 females, aged 9–26 years, who received the first HPV vaccine dose between June 2006 and June 2008 from an urban, academic, pediatric medical center with multiple primary care and specialty clinics.

Disclosures: Dr. Widdice said she had no conflicts of interest.

TORONTO — Girls and women who identified themselves as white were twice as likely as those who identified themselves as black to complete the three-shot vaccination series against the human papillomavirus, according to a retrospective review of medical records.

“This is concerning because, historically, black women have had lower rates of cervical cancer screening and been more at risk from dying of cervical cancer. With unequal distribution of the vaccine, the racial disparity in cervical cancer may worsen,” said Dr. Lea Widdice, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Widdice presented her results in a poster at the meeting.

Moreover, only 14% of females initiating the HPV vaccine series actually completed the three-shot series within 7 months of the first dose. Clinical recommendations for the vaccine are to get the third shot 6 months after the first.

Dr. Widdice and her colleagues conducted a retrospective review of medical records from 3,297 females, aged 9–26 years, who received the first HPV vaccine dose between June 2006 and June 2008 from an urban, academic, pediatric medical center with multiple primary care and specialty clinics.

Overall, 11% of the black girls and women received all three doses of the vaccine, compared with 22% of the white females and 15% of those identified as other races.

Patients were predominately from primary care (95%), and 65% used Medicaid. The majority (67%) self-identified as black, 29% said they were white, and 4% were classified as other races.

Interestingly, even after controlling for factors such as type of insurance and the different types of clinics giving the vaccine (primary care pediatrics, adolescent primary care, adolescent specialty clinics, or other specialty clinics), race was still strongly associated with getting all three doses on schedule.

Dr. Widdice said that to maximize the public health benefits of the vaccine, interventions to improve adherence are needed. “School-based clinics, in addition to doctor's clinics, may be an effective way to get the vaccine to more people,” she said in an interview.

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