• By Elizabeth Zimmermann

Science Saturday: Uncovering disparities in local communities — the case of the HPV vaccine

April 30, 2022
an adult walking along a country path, with a child on their shoulders and a dog walking alongside

Where you live may affect whether you receive the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine, suggests a new study published in the journal Vaccine.

The first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was approved for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. According to the National Cancer Institute, the types of HPV the current vaccine covers are those which cause 90% of genital warts, as many as 90% of cervical cancers, as well as a majority of oropharyngeal (a type of throat cancer), anal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Yet vaccination with the HPV vaccine has lagged considerably compared to national health and wellness goals.

Recent Mayo Clinic research sought to understand the effects of local area and socioeconomic status on whether or not young people (ages 11-18) received the initial or full vaccine series. Using a tool called the Area Deprivation Index, which combines income, housing, employment, education and other factors, the investigators found that youth were less likely to start, or complete, the vaccine series if they lived in neighborhoods considered the most socioeconomically deprived. In addition, regardless of the socioeconomic level of their local community, living in a rural environment made it less likely that youth would start the vaccine series — although if they did, rurality had no effect on completion.

Read the rest of the article on the Discovery's Edge blog.

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