HPV vaccination has been shown to reduce the incidence of high grade cervical abnormalities in girls under 18 years old and the incidence of genital warts in young men and women under 21 years old. HPV vaccine uptake in the US is low. The 2012 National Immunization Survey–Teen indicated that of girls and boys aged 13-17 years, 33.4% and 6.8% respectively had completed the three dose HPV vaccine. It has been suggested that opportunities for HPV vaccination in less traditional health care settings and using reminder and recall systems may improve HPV vaccine uptake.
Adolescents aged 13-18 years old were recruited prospectively from two pediatric EDs in New York City. Recruited patients took part in a researcher-administered questionnaire based on the validated Carolina HPV Attitudes and Beliefs Scale. Demographic information was also collected. Patients were recruited between 8am - 8pm and approached consecutively within 4-hour time blocks. Standard descriptive statistics were used to summarize response data.
Between 9/21/2016 and 5/31/2017, 117 adolescents were interviewed (70 female, 47 male). 76 (65%) had never had their parent or anyone else talk to them about the HPV vaccine. 71 (61%) of adolescents knew the HPV vaccine was not for girls only. 83 (71%) thought that the HPV vaccine was safe. Only 10 (8.5%) of participants thought they were too young to get the vaccine. 35 (30%) answered “yes” when asked if they had ever had sex but only 14 (12%) thought that the HPV vaccine was only for people who are sexually active. 83 (71%) of adolescents would agree, if their parent agreed, to have the HPV vaccine in the ED on the day they were interviewed. 104 (89%) of interviewed adolescents had a mobile phone and 88 (75%) stated they would have no problem with receiving a text message reminder for a vaccine shot.
Adolescents find it acceptable to receive HPV vaccination in these EDs and text message reminders for subsequent vaccine doses. Exploration of initial HPV vaccination of unvaccinated adolescents in the ED, with follow up doses in more traditional clinic settings aided by text message reminders warrants further investigation. Though a challenging care environment, the ED should not be ignored as a potential site for public health interventions such as HPV vaccination in adolescents.
W. E. Allison,
D. Levine, None