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Am J Prev Med. 2011 Oct;41(4):428-33. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.06.032.

Racial/Ethnic and poverty disparities in human papillomavirus vaccination completion.

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Yale School of Public Health Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.



Two vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), a necessary cause of cervical cancer, are currently licensed and recommended for routine administration in the U.S. to girls in a three-dose series.


This study examined effects of race/ethnicity, poverty, and year on completion of the three-dose HPV vaccine series among those who initiated vaccination.


Data from the 2008-2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen for girls aged 13-17 years who received at least one dose of HPV vaccine (n=7606) were analyzed in 2010-2011 using logistic regression to adjust for covariates including measures of access to care.


During this 2-year period, 55% of adolescent girls who initiated vaccination completed the three-dose series. Completion was significantly higher in 2009 (60%) compared to 2008 (48%; p<0.001). After controlling for covariates, adolescents who were black (AOR=0.48, 95% CI=0.40, 0.57) or Hispanic (AOR=0.75, 95% CI=0.64, 0.88) were significantly less likely to complete vaccination than whites. Adolescents living below the federal poverty level were significantly less likely to complete vaccination than adolescents with household incomes >$75,000 (AOR=0.76, 95% CI=0.63, 0.92). There was no significant interaction between race/ethnicity and year (p=0.92). Although poverty was associated with lower completion rates in 2008, this association was not observed in 2009 (p<0.05 for poverty-year interaction).


HPV vaccination completion rates increased between 2008 and 2009. However, significant differences by race/ethnicity and poverty were observed, and the racial/ethnic differences persisted.

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