Background: Physician recommendation is a key predictor of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake. Understanding factors associated with recommendation is important for efforts to increase current suboptimal vaccine uptake.
Purpose: This study aimed to examine physician recommendations to vaccinate female patients aged 11-26 years, in 2009 and 2011, at 3 and 5 years postvaccine licensure, respectively. A second aim was to identify trends in factors associated with vaccine recommendation for ages 11 and 12 years.
Methods: Nationally representative samples of physicians practicing family medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology were randomly selected from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile (n=1538 in 2009, n=1541 in 2011). A mailed survey asked physicians about patient and clinical practice characteristics; immunization support; and frequency of HPV vaccine recommendation ("always" ≥75% of the time vs other). Analyses were conducted in 2012.
Results: Completed surveys were received from 1013 eligible physicians (68% response rate) in 2009 and 928 (63%) in 2011. The proportion of physicians who reported always recommending HPV vaccine increased significantly from 2009 to 2011 for patients aged 11 or 12 years (35% vs 40%, respectively; p=0.03), but not for patients aged 13-17 years (53% vs 55%; p=0.28) or 18-26 years (50% vs 52%; p=0.52). Physician specialty, age, and perceived issues/barriers to vaccination were associated with vaccine recommendation for patients aged 11 or 12 in both years.
Conclusions: Results suggest a modest increase in recommendations for HPV vaccination of girls aged 11 or 12 years over a 2-year period; however, recommendations remain suboptimal for all age groups despite national recommendations for universal immunization.
Copyright © 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.