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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2016 Jun 2;12(6):1528-35. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1118594. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Why don't adolescents finish the HPV vaccine series? A qualitative study of parents and providers.

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a Boston University School of Medicine , Boston , MA , USA.
b Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates , Chelmsford , MA , USA.
c Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates , Burlington , MA , USA.
d Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital-Bedford/Boston University School of Public Health , Boston , MA , USA.



To describe why adolescent females who initiated HPV vaccination completed or did not complete the series.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents/guardians of 11-17 year old female adolescents and their pediatric primary care providers in one inner-city public clinic and three private practices to ascertain why girls who initiated HPV vaccination did or did not complete the series. Qualitative analysis was used to identify perceived barriers and facilitators of completion.


65 parents/guardians participated: 37 whose daughters received 1 or 2 HPV vaccine doses and 28 whose daughters completed the series. 89% (n = 33) of parents who did not complete the series intended to do so, but were not reminded by the clinic or encountered logistical barriers. Four (11%) decided to stop the vaccine series. 33 providers participated: 24 physicians, 3 nurse practitioners, and 6 registered nurses. Half (n = 14, 52%) of the providers said they told parents when the next doses were due but relied on parents to schedule appointments, 11 (41%) scheduled the second dose when the first dose was given, and 2 (7%) tried to immunize patients when they returned for other appointments. None of the four practices had a reminder/recall system in place to ensure series completion. Of note, neither parents nor providers stated that the need for three doses was a barrier to series completion.


Most failure to complete the HPV vaccine series occurred because providers expected parents to make appointments while parents expected to be reminded. Increased use of reminder/recall systems and team-based care with clear communication of expectations regarding appointment scheduling could increase completion rates.


HPV vaccination; parents' attitudes; physician attitudes; qualitative research; vaccine series completion

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