Perceived Barriers and Trends in HPV Vaccination via Patient Survey Responses at Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Federally-Qualified Health Center
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Despite numerous studies proving the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine, immunization rates remain low, especially among underserved populations. To identify factors contributing to low HPV vaccination rates, patients at a federally qualified health center in Kalamazoo MI were surveyed. Surveys were administered during routine patient visits to determine self-reported vaccination status and vaccination barriers. A total of 98 vaccine-eligible (males/females, ages 9–26 years old) patients/guardians completed the survey. In all, 46% of respondents completed the multi-dose vaccination course, and 56% of those identified as female. White patients reported higher vaccination rates (50%) than patients of color (45%). Of those vaccinated, the most common reason was “physician recommendation” (39%). Those not fully vaccinated most commonly reported being “too young” (39%). Importantly, individuals who had begun, but not completed, the vaccination course reported that their provider had not spoken to them about future vaccines in the series (74%). This study revealed disparities in vaccination rates between the sexes and racial groups, and emphasized the influential role of physician’s recommendation on vaccination. Interestingly, other frequently cited barriers to vaccination—an association with sex, personal/religious beliefs, efficacy—proved to be insignificant barriers for this population. Instead, age-related misunderstandings and lack of consistent physician communication about vaccination provided significant barriers. Based on our results, education and reminders about the HPV vaccine by providers is a significant tool to maximize vaccination coverage.
KeywordsHPV Vaccination Barriers FQHC Kalamazoo
We thank Jeanie Lozano, Denise Richards, and Dr. Dennis Means of the Family Health Center for their assistance and resources. We also thank Dr. Cheryl Dickson, Dr. Ransome Eke, Holly Ramsdell, Dawn DeLuca, Duncan Vos, and Richard Brandt of WMed for their insights and support throughout the process of this study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors deny any conflict of interest.
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