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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Colorado: Physicians Report High Refusal Rates for HPV Vaccine and Need for Improvement

​Despite its proven success at preventing cancer, many adolescents are still not getting the human immunodeficiency virus (HPV) vaccine. A new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado School of Public Health shows that physicians’ delivery and communication practices must improve to boost vaccination completion rates.

Health care providers must also learn to deal with parents hesitant to get their children vaccinated with HPV vaccine.

The study surveyed 588 pediatricians and family physicians and found that refusal rates from parents remain high, especially for 11 to 12-year-olds, the target population for vaccination.

But physicians who use a “presumptive style” approach have higher acceptance rates. Presumptive style means physicians introduce the HPV vaccine and recommend it in the same manner and as strongly as the other recommended adolescent vaccines for meningitis and Tdap.

For example, a doctor could say, “We’ve got three vaccines today: Tdap, HPV and Meningitis,” rather than isolating HPV as an option that is not as important.

Still, the survey found some encouraging signs:

Along with improving physician communication styles, HPV delivery could also be optimized by increased use of standing orders and alert systems in the medical record to remind providers of the need for vaccination at the point of care.

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