Uncovering disparities in local communities – the case of the HPV vaccine

May 2, 2022 | Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator | @kanaazpereira

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 the 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.

Finally, the investigators noted additional factors of being male, Black, or older (compared to referent age range 11-12) made it less likely that a person would initiate or complete the series; while people of Hispanic ethnicity were more likely to initiate the vaccine series than non-Hispanic youth.

“This study builds on our previous work which showed that patients living in deprived or rural communities are approximately half as likely to complete a cancer screening. Developing targeted interventions is imperative to reach these communities and detect cancer at earlier stages,” says Shaheen Kurani, Ph.D., the study's lead author, and a research collaborator at Mayo Clinic.

"Knowing some of the root causes of disparities in health care or outcomes in our local communities allows us to personalize the care we provide for each of our patients," says Kathy MacLaughlin, M.D., a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and co-author of the current research.

This work was supported by the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery and made possible by the Rochester Epidemiology Project, along with funding from the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health.

Read the full story on the Discovery's Edge blog.


Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Health Equity Research blog.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.