Stronger recs for HPV vax could 'drastically' improve rates

A new report from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) in Ohio has shown that, after a self-audit for teenage HPV vaccination rates, the institution was able to “drastically” increase series completion by improving its recommendation process.

This follows on the heels of an American Society of Clinical Oncology push last month that aimed to improve severely low HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. Among other steps, ASCO called for doctors to provide definitive recommendations in favor of the vaccines.

According to the CCHMC, a more effective, timely recommendation was vastly effective, even as rates suffer from a variety of antivaccine barriers, in part due to physicians’ reluctance to discuss HPV, as well as concerns about safety and a sex stigma.

The medical center examined variables highlighting the reason for “misses” in the vaccine regimen, including age, gender, medical provider and parental refusal, according to an article from Healio. Clinic staff then designed interventions based on the most common causes.

The CCHMC report showed baseline data for the first dose and the subsequent two doses to be, for males, 83%, 68% and 43%; and for females, 90%, 78% and 60%. After the intervention, the rate of teens who received the vaccine after walking through the door rose from 80% to 92%, and the number of teenagers returning each week for the HPV jab alone doubled.

“The significant finding from our project is that by solely improving vaccine recommendation in quality and frequency, we drastically improved our overall rates, and now over 60% of our 1000 teenagers have completed their HPV series, compared to 39% of females and 21% of males nationally,” CCHMC’s Landon Krantz said in a statement. “This supports recent studies demonstrating that a lack of strong provider recommendation is a prominent barrier to vaccination. Therefore, just by giving a more effective and more timely vaccine recommendation, we significantly increased our population's HPV vaccination rates in only 10 months.”

The improvement on this rate could effect an important boon for Merck ($MRK) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) as their respective HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix have fallen well short of high expectations. The pharma giants were thought to be able to rake in between $4 billion and $10 billion by optimistic standards, but Merck scrounged $1.9 billion last year and Glaxo only $128 million.

- read more from Healio

Related Article:
ASCO pushes more HPV vaccine use in published recommendations