Objectives: Despite the high efficacy of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, uptake has been slow and little data on psychosocial barriers to vaccination exist.
Methods: A community sample of 428 women enrolled in a longitudinal study of social development in the Seattle WA metropolitan area were interviewed about HPV vaccine status, attitudes, and barriers to HPV vaccination in spring 2008 or 2009 at ∼age 22.
Results: Nineteen percent of women had initiated vaccination, 10% had completed the series, and ∼40% of unvaccinated women intended to get vaccinated. Peer approval was associated with vaccine initiation (adjusted prevalence ratio (APR) 2.1; 95% confidence interval 1.4-3.2) and intention to vaccinate (APR 1.4; 1.1-1.9). Belief the vaccine is <75% effective was associated with less initiation (APR 0.6; 0.4-0.9) or intention to vaccinate (APR 0.5; 0.4-0.7). Vaccine initiation was also less likely among cigarette smokers and illegal drug users, whereas intention to vaccinate was more common among women currently attending school or with >5 lifetime sex partners, but less common among women perceiving low susceptibility to HPV (APR 0.6; 0.5-0.9).
Conclusions: HPV vaccination uptake was low in this community sample of young adult women. Increasing awareness of susceptibility to HPV and the high efficacy of the vaccine, along with peer interventions to increase acceptability, may be most effective.
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