Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the causative agent in cervical cancer and has been implicated in a range of other malignancies. Preventative vaccines are now internationally available and provide high levels of protection from common viral strains. The introduction of a comprehensive vaccination programme (except 'program' in computers) could prevent over 60% of current cervical cancer cases, but this is dependent on such programmes achieving a high level of coverage. In this review, we summarise the current trends in female HPV vaccination coverage throughout the world, and place it in the context of available research on attitudes towards vaccination amongst the public and health professionals. Where countries have the resources for mass vaccination programmes, uptake has varied. School-based opt-out programmes consistently achieve highest coverage, whilst countries and regions without systematic vaccination schemes have low coverage. In all countries, the success of vaccination programmes is dependent on the support of the public and healthcare professionals. Whilst public acceptance is dependent on multiple factors, it has repeatedly been shown that recommendation by a health professional, particularly clinicians, is key to vaccine uptake. Worryingly, it appears that a proportion of clinicians still have significant reservations about promoting vaccination, particularly for younger age groups. A commitment now, to fully educating both the public and clinicians, has the potential to make a dramatic future impact.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.