Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake is low among adolescent girls in the United States. We sought to identify longitudinal predictors of HPV vaccine initiation in populations at elevated risk for cervical cancer.
Methods: We interviewed a population-based sample of parents of 10- to 18-year-old girls in areas of North Carolina with elevated cervical cancer rates. Baseline interviews occurred in summer 2007 and follow-up interviews in fall 2008. Measures included health belief model constructs.
Results: Parents reported that 27% (149/567) of their daughters had initiated HPV vaccine between baseline and follow-up. Of parents who at baseline intended to get their daughters the vaccine in the next year, only 38% (126/348) had done so by follow-up. Of parents of daughters who remained unvaccinated at follow-up but had seen a doctor since baseline, only 37% (122/388) received an HPV vaccine recommendation. Rates of HPV vaccine initiation were higher among parents who at baseline perceived lower barriers to getting HPV vaccine, anticipated greater regret if their daughters got HPV because they were unvaccinated, did not report "needing more information" as the main reason they had not already vaccinated, intended to get their daughters the vaccine, or were not born-again Christians.
Conclusions: Missed opportunities to increase HPV vaccine uptake included unrealized parent intentions and absent doctor recommendations. While several health belief model constructs identified in early acceptability studies (e.g., perceived risk, perceived vaccine effectiveness) were not longitudinally associated with HPV vaccine initiation, our findings suggest correlates of uptake (e.g., anticipated regret) that offer novel opportunities for intervention.