EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

New research indicates 65% of surveyed parents said the statement “I strongly believe in the importance of this cancer-preventing vaccine for [child’s name]” would be the most effective in motivating them to get the HPV shot for their children if delivered by a physician.

  • An example of an ineffective message was, “Would you wait until [child’s name] is in a car accident before you tell him to wear a seatbelt?”
  • Researchers note that among parents who reported they were disinclined to vaccinate, the most convincing messages were those that focused on the parents’ role in preventing their child from acquiring HPV-related cancers and those that emphasized the parents’ role in whether their child becomes infected with HPV.

Which message is most likely to motivate parents to get the HPV shot for their children? New research indicates that among surveyed parents, 65% said the statement “I strongly believe in the importance of this cancer-preventing vaccine for [child’s name]” would be the most effective if delivered by a physician.1

To perform the current study, researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Harvard Medical School in Boston surveyed national samples of parents of adolescents ages 11 to 17 (n = 1,504) and primary care physicians (n = 776) from 2014 to 2015. The parents read motivational messages, selected from nine longer messages developed by the CDC and six brief messages developed by the study team. Parents then indicated whether each message would persuade them to get HPV vaccine for their adolescents. Physicians read the brief messages and indicated whether they would use them to persuade parents to get HPV vaccine for 11- to 12-year-old children.1

An example of another highly persuasive message was “[Child’s name] can get cervical cancer as an adult, but you can stop that right now. The HPV vaccine prevents most cervical cancers.” An example of an ineffective message was “Would you wait until [child’s name] is in a car accident before you tell him to wear a seatbelt?”

Researchers note that among parents who reported that they were disinclined to vaccinate, the most convincing messages were those that focused on the parents’ role in preventing their child from acquiring HPV-related cancers and those that emphasized the parents’ role in whether their child becomes infected with HPV.

“Providers have a lot to talk about during medical visits,” says publication co-author Noel Brewer, PhD, associate professor of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Brief, memorable, and persuasive statements about the HPV vaccine can improve parent-provider communication.”

Because the HPV vaccine is an “opt in” vaccine in the U.S., finding the right messaging is crucial, notes Susan Wysocki, WHNP-BC, FAANP, president & chief executive officer of WomansHealth in Washington, DC, which focuses on information on women’s health issues for clinicians and consumers.

“Presenting this vaccine as a routine vaccine for young males and females, in addition to emphasizing its importance in preventing cancer, can go a long way in helping parents make the best healthcare decisions for their children,” states Wysocki.

Vaccination Makes Its Mark

The importance of finding the right message cannot be over-emphasized, observes Wysocki. Findings from a recent analysis on the real-world effect of the HPV vaccine over 10 years demonstrate that in populations where the HPV vaccine has made inroads there are fewer HPV infections, as well as less cervical pathology, Wysocki states. The data also indicate that in countries such as Australia, where the vaccine is offered routinely, the benefits are greatest, she notes.

A new study by Cosette Wheeler, PhD, Regent’s Professor in the departments of pathology and obstetrics and gynecology, at the University of New Mexico and coauthors examines the effect of HPV vaccination on high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) that can lead to invasive cervical cancer.

Researchers looked at the New Mexico HPV Pap Registry, which captures population-based estimates of both cervical screening prevalence and CIN, to determine CIN trends from Jan. 1, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2014.3

In 2014, the average uptake of all three doses of HPV vaccine among females ages 13-17 in New Mexico was 40%. Data indicate reductions in population-based risk for all grades of CIN among females ages 15-19 and for CIN grade 2 among women 20-24. Biopsy results were classified as three grades of CIN.3

Since CIN1 is the most common cervical neoplastic diagnosis that can lead to additional clinical follow-up, increased healthcare costs, and patient morbidities, reductions in CIN1 are an added benefit of HPV vaccination, researchers note.

“Based on vaccination coverage, reductions were greater than anticipated, supporting vaccine cross-protection, efficacy of less than three vaccine doses, and herd immunity contributions,” the researchers stated.

REFERENCES

  1. Malo TL, Gilkey MB, Hall ME, et al. Messages to motivate human papillomavirus vaccination: national studies of parents and physicians. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2016; (10):1383-1391.
  2. Garland SM, Kjaer SK, Muñoz N, et al. Impact and effectiveness of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine: a systematic review of 10 years of real-world experience. Clin Infect Dis 2016; 63(4):519-527.
  3. Benard VB, Castle PE, Jenison SA, et al. Population-based incidence rates of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in the human papillomavirus vaccine era. JAMA Oncol 2016; doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.3609.