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Do adolescents have better HPV vaccination rates than young adults?

Researchers from the University of Michigan examined vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) in young adults versus adolescents for an 8-year period, from 2010 to 2018. Regardless of what age they were at first dose, more survey respondents opted for vaccination as the years passed. Still, compared with adolescents—68% of whom received one or more HPV doses by 2018—overall takeup among young adults was low.

The research included self-reported vaccination data from over 6,000 females and 6,000 males aged 18 to 21 years of age. Within the sample, only 254 of the young women received their first HPV vaccination between the ages of 18 to 21 years, as did 162 of the young men. The share of young women who received at least one dose at any age grew from 32% in 2010 to 55% in 2018, while the proportion increased from 2% to 34% among young men over the same time period.

The study authors recommend staging university or community vaccination campaigns, raising the prospect of HPV immunization during influenza vaccination, removing cost barriers, and improving education of primary care clinicians on the risk of HPV-related cancers. Efforts to improve HPV vaccination in young adults also give special attention to males, who had lower takeup in general than females.

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