THURSDAY, July 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Lack of parental intent to initiate and complete the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series for adolescents is a major public health concern, according to a study published online July 21 in The Lancet Public Health.

Kalyani Sonawane, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues used data from parents or caregivers of 82,297 U.S. adolescents (aged 13 to 17 years) participating in the 2017-18 National Immunization Survey to assess parental intent to initiate and complete the HPV vaccine series.

The researchers found that 37.1 percent of teens were unvaccinated, while 10.8 percent received only one HPV vaccine dose. Of 58.0 percent of unvaccinated adolescents, parents had no intention to initiate the HPV vaccine series. No intention to initiate varied widely and was highest (>65 percent) among parents in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah. Parents most commonly cited lack of intent to initiate the vaccine due to safety concerns (22.8 percent), while lack of a recommendation from a health care provider (22.2 percent) was the most frequently cited reason for absence of intent to complete the series. A recommendation from a health care provider was associated with greater odds of parental intent to initiate the HPV vaccine series (odds ratio, 1.11), although 45.5 percent of parents of unvaccinated adolescents had reportedly received an HPV vaccine recommendation.

“Combating vaccine safety concerns and strong recommendations from health care providers could improve the currently suboptimal HPV vaccination coverage,” the authors write.

Several authors reported financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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