Study: Vaccinated women saw drop in HPV infections
MelissaJenco, News Content Editor
New studies released today confirm the effectiveness of HPV vaccine and explore the
best ways to communicate the benefits to parents.
The Academy and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend HPV vaccine, which protects against several types of cancer, as part of routine immunization
for males and females at age 11 or 12 years. It can be started as early as 9 years.
HPV vaccination rates have been rising but fall short of national goals.
To take a closer look at HPV vaccine effectiveness, researchers analyzed health data
on 1,580 women ages 13-26 from hospital-based or community health clinics. Data were
collected in four waves from 2006-’17.
Throughout the study, HPV vaccination rates rose from 0% to 84.3%. Nearly all of those
who had been vaccinated received the 4-valent vaccine.
Among vaccinated women, 4-valent type HPV infections decreased 81% from 35% to 6.7%.
Compared to the first wave in 2006-’07, vaccine effectiveness was 90% in wave 3 (2013-’14)
and 80% in wave 4 (2016-’17), according to “Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Effectiveness
and Herd Protection in Young Women” (Spinner C, et al. Pediatrics. Jan. 22, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-1902).
“This degree of effectiveness is remarkable given the fact that vaccination was defined
as having received ≥1 dose (ie, was not defined as having completed the vaccination
series) and that women in this study were likely at a substantially higher risk for
preexisting HPV infection than those in the HPV vaccine clinical trials because of
their reported sexual behaviors,” authors wrote.
Vaccinated women also saw declines in infection with the five additional HPV types
in the 9-valent vaccine that was licensed in 2014. Researchers said there may have
been some cross-protection as some of the types are genetically related.
Among unvaccinated women, infections from 4-valent HPV types dropped 40% from 32.4%
to 19.4%, which may be due to herd protection, according to the study. However, researchers
saw an increase in the five additional types covered by the 9-valent vaccine. They
said this may be due to the women engaging in more risky behavior.
In another study, researchers surveyed nearly 1,200 parents of children ages 9-17
years who had not completed the vaccine series to determine how best to communicate
about the vaccine.
Based on their expressed interests, the parents watched four of 28 video messages
that showed a pediatrician discussing the vaccine.
Many of the parents said they felt more confident about the vaccine after watching
the videos, according to the study “Questions and Concerns about HPV Vaccine: A Communication
Experiment” (Shah PD, et al. Pediatrics. Jan. 22, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-1872).
Parents whose children had not started the vaccine series felt most confident after
hearings messages about diseases HPV vaccine can prevent and the need to vaccinate
both boys and girls. Parents whose children had started the series felt most confident
after hearing messages about the recommended age for vaccination.
Results showed messages that were longer or required a higher level of comprehension
also boosted confidence.
Based on the findings, authors recommend providers emphasize the vaccine’s ability
to protect against cancer and avoid expressing urgency when parents have concerns.
“One reason may be that hesitant parents feel inappropriately rushed or that their
concerns are not being treated with appropriate care,” authors wrote.
They also suggest providers be prepared for longer discussions, and their paper includes
seven messages that may aid these talks.
“Interventions used to increase parents’ confidence in and motivation to get HPV vaccine
alone may not increase vaccine uptake; however, they could be used to increase uptake
in combination with clear, strong provider recommendations to get the vaccine, as
other studies have shown,” authors wrote.