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March 16, 2022 – A new analysis from the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) found that vaccination coverage for the human papillomavirus (HPV) increased among New York State adolescents between 2018 and 2020. In a reversal of trends for other vaccinations, Hispanic and Black adolescents had the highest rates of HPV vaccination. Coverage improved across all racial and ethnic groups over the study period. Wide variation across counties in the State was also found, with vaccination rates ranging from 9.9% to 40.8%.
The analysis is based on data from the New York State Immunization Information System for the 57 counties outside of New York City. (Data on New York City immunizations are maintained by a separate system and were not made available to the report authors.) It assesses the percentage of 13-year-olds who completed the two-dose HPV vaccine before their 13th birthday.
“HPV is the single most common sexually transmitted infection in America and can lead to serious health consequences like cervical cancer,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., President and CEO of NYHealth. “HPV vaccines are highly effective and safe. It’s especially encouraging that Black and Hispanic New Yorkers, who fare worse on many health outcomes, have the highest rates of HPV vaccination coverage.”
From 2013–2017, an average of 2,730 New Yorkers were diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer each year. The HPV vaccine prevents the development of more than 90% of these cancers, making it one of only two vaccines that prevent cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adolescents receive two doses of the HPV vaccine when they are ages 11–12 years.
Among the report’s findings:
- Adolescent HPV vaccination coverage increased in New York State from 2018 to 2020. In 2020, 24.5% of 13-year-olds had received both shots of the HPV vaccine series by age 13, compared with 20.1% in 2018.
- Contrary to trends for many other vaccinations, Hispanic or Latino and Black or African-American adolescents had the highest rates of HPV vaccination coverage over the study period. The coverage rate increased for all races and ethnicities from 2018–2020, but remained consistently lower for Asian and white adolescents.
- Both girls and boys experienced an increase in HPV vaccination coverage over the study period. While the gap between genders decreased slightly over time, a difference of 2.5 percentage points in vaccination coverage remained between 13-year-old girls (25.9%) and boys (23.4%) in 2020.
- Most counties experienced increases in vaccination coverage over the study period, but there was vast geographic variation in HPV vaccination coverage. Only two counties (Cortland and Niagara) met the State’s Prevention Agenda goal of 37.4% coverage among 13-year-olds by 2024. The 2020 coverage rate in the county with the lowest rate, Jefferson, was less than one-quarter as high as the county with the highest rate, Cortland (9.9% compared with 40.8%).
- The lowest regional rates of HPV vaccination coverage were consistently found in the Lower Hudson and Long Island regions (in 2020, 20.5% and 20.9%, respectively). These regions also had the lowest vaccination coverage for other pediatric vaccinations, studied in an earlier NYHealth report here.
“New York State is making progress when it comes to HPV vaccination, but coverage is uneven and we’re still falling far short of our goals,” said Avital Havusha, Vice President of Programs at NYHealth. “We must sustain and build on these gains, particularly given the recent explosion of vaccine misinformation and hesitancy.”
Factors that may have contributed to the recent increase in vaccination coverage include improving provider communication strategies about HPV with parents, expanding adolescent self-consent policies, and using school-based health centers as HPV vaccinators. To further increase vaccination rates, New York State could consider additional policies, including requiring the HPV vaccine for school attendance and studying the potential of pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine to young people.
The full report, “Making Progress on HPV Vaccination in New York State,” is available here.
The New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health care system and the health of New Yorkers, serving as a convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners.