Objectives: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, yet HPV vaccination rates remain relatively low. We examined racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of health care provider recommendations for HPV vaccination and the association between recommendation and vaccination.
Methods: We used the 2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen, a nationally representative cross-section of female adolescents aged 13 to 17 years, to assess provider-verified HPV vaccination (≥ 1 dose) and participant-reported health care provider recommendation for the HPV vaccine.
Results: More than half (56.9%) of female adolescents received a recommendation for the HPV vaccine, and adolescents with a recommendation were almost 5 times as likely to receive a vaccine (odds ratio = 4.81; 95% confidence interval = 4.01, 5.77) as those without a recommendation. Racial/ethnic minorities were less likely to receive a recommendation, but the association between recommendation and vaccination appeared strong for all racial/ethnic groups.
Conclusions: Provider recommendations were strongly associated with HPV vaccination. Racial/ethnic minorities and non-Hispanic Whites were equally likely to obtain an HPV vaccine after receiving a recommendation. Vaccine education efforts should target health care providers to increase recommendations, particularly among racial/ethnic minority populations.