Parental education and text messaging reminders as effective community based tools to increase HPV vaccination rates among Mexican American children

Prev Med Rep. 2015 Jun 25;2:554-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.06.015. eCollection 2015.


Objective: Latino populations, particularly Mexican-Americans who comprise 65% of the Latinos in the U.S., are disproportionately affected by HPV-related diseases. The HPV vaccination completion rates remain low, well below the Healthy People 2020 goal. In this study we assessed the effect of parental education and a text messaging reminder service on HPV vaccine completion rates among eligible children of Mexican American parents.

Study design: Nonequivalent group study of Mexican parents of HPV vaccine eligible children attended the Health Window program at the Mexican Consulate in New York City, a non-clinical, trusted community setting, during 2012-2013. 69 parents received HPV education onsite, 45 of whom also received a series of text message vaccination reminders. We measured HPV vaccination completion of the youngest eligible children of Mexican parents as the main outcome.

Results: 98% of those in the education plus text messaging group reported getting the first dose of the vaccine for their child and 87% among those in the educational group only (p = 0.11). 88% of those receiving the 1st dose in the text messaging group reported completing the three doses versus 40% in the educational group only (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: Parental text messaging plus education, implemented in a community based setting, was strongly associated with vaccine completion rates among vaccine-eligible Mexican American children. Although pilot in nature, the study achieved an 88% series completion rate in the children of those who received the text messages, significantly higher than current vaccination levels.

Keywords: Cancer prevention; Community intervention; HPV vaccine barriers; Human papillomavirus vaccine; Latino children.