Proximity to safety-net clinics and HPV vaccine uptake among low-income, ethnic minority girls

Vaccine. 2013 Apr 12;31(16):2028-34. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.02.046. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Abstract

Purpose: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake remains low. Although publicly funded programs provide free or low cost vaccines to low-income children, barriers aside from cost may prevent disadvantaged girls from getting vaccinated. Prior studies have shown distance to health care as a potential barrier to utilizing pediatric preventive services. This study examines whether HPV vaccines are geographically accessible for low-income girls in Los Angeles County and whether proximity to safety-net clinics is associated with vaccine initiation.

Methods: Interviews were conducted in multiple languages with largely immigrant, low-income mothers of girls ages 9 to 18 via a county health hotline to assess uptake and correlates of uptake. Addresses of respondents and safety-net clinics that provide the HPV vaccine for free or low cost were geo-coded and linked to create measures of geographic proximity. Logistic regression models were estimated for each proximity measure on HPV vaccine initiation while controlling for other factors.

Results: On average, 83% of the 468 girls had at least one clinic within 3-miles of their residence. The average travel time on public transportation to the nearest clinic among all girls was 21min. Average proximity to clinics differed significantly by race/ethnicity. Latinas had both the shortest travel distances (2.2 miles) and public transportation times (16min) compared to other racial/ethnic groups. The overall HPV vaccine initiation rate was 25%. Increased proximity to the nearest clinic was not significantly associated with initiation. By contrast, daughter's age and insurance status were significantly associated with increased uptake.

Conclusions: This study is among the first to examine geographic access to HPV vaccines for underserved girls. Although the majority of girls live in close proximity to safety-net vaccination services, rates of initiation were low. Expanding clinic outreach in this urban area is likely more important than increasing geographic access to the vaccine for this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans
  • Child
  • Continental Population Groups*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Minority Groups*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / ethnology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / economics
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Safety-net Providers*
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination / economics
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*

Substances

  • Papillomavirus Vaccines