August 4, 2010 — The majority of pediatricians and family physicians in the United States are offering the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to their older adolescent patients, but fewer are recommending the vaccine to their younger patients (those aged 11 to 12 years) — the age group that is particularly targeted for vaccination by national guidelines — according to a survey reported online August 2 and in the September print issue of Pediatrics.
“A HPV vaccine was licensed in 2006,” write Matthew F. Daley, MD, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research, Denver, and colleagues. “In surveys before vaccine licensure, physicians generally viewed HPV vaccines positively, but some expressed reservations about vaccinating young adolescents. Little is known about current HPV vaccination practices of US physicians.”
The aims of this study were to assess HPV-related attitudes and vaccination practices, perceived barriers to vaccination, and factors associated with whether physicians strongly recommended HPV vaccine to 11- to 12-year-old female patients in a sample of US pediatricians and family physicians.
From January to March 2008, the researchers administered a survey through the Internet or by mail to a national network of 429 pediatricians and 419 family physicians recruited from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Eighty-one percent of pediatricians and 79% of family physicians responded to the survey.
Virtually all pediatricians (98%) and 88% of family physicians reported administering HPV vaccine to female patients in their offices (P < .001). Female family physicians were more likely to give the vaccine than male family physicians (95% vs 83%; P = .001).