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Lisa Black

Every year, human papillomavirus (HPV) causes about 35,900 cancers, despite the existence of a vaccine to prevent it. Adolescents’ receipt of the HPV vaccine is largely a decision of their parents, and so a new study examines parents’ attitudes and intent to obtain this vaccine for their teenager. The study, “HPV Vaccine Recommendations and Parental Intent,” in the March 2021 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 9) analyzes data from the National Immunization Survey from 2012-2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers found that while more pediatricians are regularly recommending the HPV vaccine for children, and more teens are receiving the vaccine, HPV vaccine hesitancy is also on the rise. The study found that the proportion of unvaccinated adolescents who were recommended the HPV vaccine by their provider increased from 27% in 2012 to 49.3% in 2018.  Hesitancy among parents regarding the HPV vaccine also increased from 50.4% to 64.0% over the same time period. HPV vaccine hesitancy increased more for parents of girls, from 54.1% to 68.1%, compared to 44.4% to 59.2% for parents of boys. Researchers concluded that there is an opportunity to improve the number of providers who recommend the vaccine to their patients, and that other evidence-based strategies to address vaccine hesitance must also be implemented.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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