Mixed Feeling About HPV Vaccine
August 13, 2010
A sizable majority of US pediatricians and family practice physicians stock and recommend the human papillomavirus vaccine for their patients, suggest the results of a recent analysis in the journal Pediatrics.
About 90 percent of respondents to a survey sent to 848 physicians said they strongly recommend the HPV vaccine for 13- to 15-year-old female patients. For girls ages 11-12, however, only about half of the physicians recommend the vaccine.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has endorsed HPV vaccination for girls ages 11-12 since 2007, with catch-up shots recommended for females ages 13-26.
The goal of the study was to describe physicians' attitudes and knowledge surrounding the HPV vaccine now that it is widely available. Physicians cited parental refusal and the need to discuss sexuality before administering the vaccine as the chief obstacles to recommending HPV vaccination for younger girls as outlined in the ACIP guidelines.
Lack of insurance coverage for the vaccine was perceived as a barrier by half of the pediatricians and 64 percent of the family practice physicians.
Generally, physicians had a good grasp of the scientific details of the vaccine, with at least 70 percent answering most of the questions correctly.
However, about half incorrectly believed that HPV incidence is highest among women in their 30s. The misperception that genital warts and cervical cancer are caused by the same HPV types was endorsed by 60 percent of pediatricians and 42 percent of family practice physicians.
The full report, "Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Practices: Survey of US Physicians 18 Months After Licensure," was published online in Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3500).
08.02.2010; Charles Bankhead
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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