Missing the Target for Routine Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Consistent and Strong Physician Recommendations Are Lacking for 11- to 12-Year-Old Males

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Oct;25(10):1435-1446. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-1294. Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Background: Rates of routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of adolescent males in the United States are low. Leading health organizations advocate consistent and strong physician recommendations to improve HPV vaccine dissemination. This study describes the prevalence and correlates of consistent and strong physician recommendations for HPV vaccination of adolescent males.

Methods: We surveyed pediatric and family medicine physicians in Florida about their HPV vaccine recommendations for male vaccine-eligible age groups (11-12, 13-17, 18-21 years). Descriptive statistics compared consistency and strength of HPV recommendations across age groups. Multivariable logistic regression examined factors associated with consistent and strong recommendations for 11- to 12-year-olds.

Results: We received 367 completed surveys (51% response rate). Physicians most often consistently and strongly recommended HPV vaccine to males ages 13 to 17 (39%) compared with ages 11 to 12 (31%) and 18 to 21 (31%). Consistent and strong recommendation for 11- to 12-year-old males was more likely to be delivered by Vaccine for Children providers and less likely among physicians who reported more personal barriers to vaccination, particularly concerns about vaccine safety, concerns about adding vaccines to the vaccine schedule, and difficulty in remembering to discuss HPV vaccination.

Conclusions: Physicians' current consistency and strength of HPV vaccine recommendations do not align with national recommendations. Interventions to improve HPV vaccine recommendations must also consider the influence of physicians' personal barriers to HPV vaccine delivery.

Impact: As one of the first studies to examine both consistency and strength of physicians' HPV vaccine recommendations for males, our findings can inform future interventions focused on facilitating physicians' recommendations. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 25(10); 1435-46. ©2016 AACR.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines