Despite high HPV incidence and poor vaccination rates in the military, HPV vaccination is not mandatory at the start of military duty. Given that national HPV vaccination rates among persons aged 19–26 years remain low, military service may be an appropriate moment for intervention. The goal of this study was to determine the rate of HPV vaccination among young patients accessing primary care at a single Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC). The institutional data repository was used to identify vaccination rates among veterans aged 26 at their first primary care visit. The majority of the 1,258 eligible patients were men. The incidence of HPV vaccination initiation was 21.2 per cent. Prior to beginning therapy at the VA, 10.4 per cent of patients got at least one HPV vaccination. In addition, 10.8 per cent of patients received their first HPV vaccine when they began therapy at the VA. The median age of the first HPV vaccination was 21.4 years for patients who started the vaccine in the military vs 24.8 years for those who started the vaccine at the VA.

In conclusion, this study found that HPV vaccination rates were low both before switching to VA primary care and after obtaining care at the VA. Furthermore, greater age at vaccination was seen among veterans who had not received immunisation upon starting care at the VA. Given the increased likelihood of exposure, older age during immunisation may lower HPV vaccine efficacy. The inclusion of HPV vaccinations on the list of required immunizations at the start of military service should be explored.