HealthDay News — Many females receive human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination after the recommended ages, often after sexual debut, according to a research letter published online October 21 in JAMA Network Open.
Didem Egemen, PhD, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the proportion of females who were vaccinated before sexual debut and examined the association of delayed vaccination with the prevalence of HPV-16/18.
The researchers found that the prevalence of cervical HPV-16/18 decreased from 6% in the unvaccinated group to 3% in the postdebut group and less than 1 percent in the predebut group among the 4727 females ever eligible for vaccination. The prevalence of HPV-16/18 was 89% lower in the predebut group but was not significantly lower (41%) in the postdebut group vs the vaccinated group. Predebut vaccination was associated with an 82% reduction in HPV-16/18 prevalence compared with postdebut vaccination. Only 21% of vaccinated, routine vaccination-eligible females reported receiving their first dose by age 12 years, per recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (mean age at first dose, 14.5 years). Overall, 33 and 23% were vaccinated predebut and postdebut, respectively. Of the vaccinated participants, 41% received vaccination postdebut.
“This study highlights the importance of timely vaccination against HPV, particularly before sexual debut, ” the authors write.