In France, vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) was recommended in 2007 for all 14-year-old girls as well as "catch-up" vaccination for girls between 15-23 y of age either before or within one year of becoming sexually active. We evaluated the vaccine coverage according to the eligibility for vaccination in a sample of young girls aged 14 to 23 years, who were seen in general practices. A survey was proposed to 706 general practitioners (GPs) and carried out from July to September 2010. GPs, also called "family doctor," are physicians whose practice is not restricted to a specific field of medicine but instead covers a variety of medical problems in patients of all ages. Each participating GP included, retrospectively, the last female patient aged 14-17 y and the last female patient aged 18-23 y whom he had seen. A questionnaire collected information regarding the GP and the patients' characteristics. The vaccine coverage was determined according to the eligibility for vaccination, i.e. the coverage among younger women (14-17) and among those sexually active in the second age range (18-23). Sexual activity status was assessed by GP, according to information stated in the medical record. The 363 participating physicians (response rate 51.4%) included 712 patients (357 in the 14- to 17-year-old group and 355 in the 15- to 23-year-old group) in their responses. The rate of the vaccination coverage in the 14- to 17-year-old group was 55%. Among the girls in the 18- to 23-year-old group, 126 were eligible, and their vaccination coverage rate was 82%. The evaluation of the eligibility by the GPs was incorrect in 36% of the cases. Of the 712 patients, 6% of the girls had been vaccinated without a need for the vaccination, and 26% of the girls had not been vaccinated, although they needed to be vaccinated. Regarding the vaccine uptake, vaccination at the age of 14 was not as effective as vaccinating the older population for which vaccination was indicated as a catch-up program, based on sexual history. However, in more than one-third of the older population, difficulties remained regarding the determination of eligibility, according to the sexual history of the patient.
Keywords: Eligibility, family practice, human papillomavirus, recommendation, sexuality, teenagers, vaccine.