August 6, 2009
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the human papillomavirus vaccination for all 11- and 12-year-old girls, but results of a recent survey showed that more than half of Texas physicians do not follow these recommendations.
The survey was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
“Two years after the FDA approved the vaccine, the study suggests that additional efforts are needed to encourage physicians to follow these national recommendations,” said Jessica Kahn, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been mired in controversy since it was approved in 2006. Texas placed itself at the center of that controversy early on with a mandate for universal vaccination from the governor’s office, followed by a swift rebuke of that mandate from the legislature.
Kahn said she was approached by the Texas Medical Association to assist them in conducting this survey as part of their efforts to assess educational needs related to HPV vaccination among Texas physicians. Kahn and colleagues surveyed 1,122 physicians.
Of the respondents, 48.5 percent said they always recommend the HPV vaccine to girls, 68.4 percent said they were likely to recommend the vaccine to boys and 41.7 percent agreed with mandated vaccination.