Parents increasingly doubt HPV vaccination safety


While clinicians increasingly recommend human papillomavirus vaccination for adolescent girls, parents who do not intend to vaccinate their teens for HPV are growing more worried about its safety, concludes a new study in Pediatrics. The findings are based on data from the 2008-2010 National Immunization Survey of Teens. While HPV vaccination rates increased from 2008 to 2010, the rate of parents planning to avoid vaccinating their daughters also increased, going from 39.8% to 43.9%. The rate of physicians recommending the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer increased from 46.8% to 52.4%. Parents cited similar and consistent reasons for not immunizing their teens with any of the recommended vaccines for adolescents (Tdap/Td, MCV4, HPV) -- most typically, that it was unnecessary. However for HPV, concerns about the vaccine's safety increased from 4.5% to 16.4%. One potential limitation of the study, say the authors, is that only parents who did not intend to vaccinate against HPV were asked for reasons, whereas all parents were queried about nonvaccination for other immunizations. The findings, conclude the authors, imply that strategies beyond clinician recommendation will be needed to ensure HPV vaccination of adolescent girls. Read the article.

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