This study is the first to examine associations between several area-based socioeconomic factors and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake among boys in the United States (U.S.).
Data from the 2012-2013 National Immunization Survey-Teen restricted-use data were analyzed to examine associations of HPV vaccination initiation (receipt of ≥1 dose) and series completion (receipt of three doses) among boys aged 13-17 years (N = 19,518) with several individual-level and ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) census measures. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of HPV vaccination initiation and series completion separately.
In 2012-2013 approximately 27.9% (95% CI 26.6%-29.2%) of boys initiated and 10.38% (95% CI 9.48%-11.29%) completed the HPV vaccine series. Area-based poverty was not statistically significantly associated with HPV vaccination initiation. It was, however, associated with series completion, with boys living in high-poverty areas (≥20% of residents living below poverty) having higher odds of completing the series (AOR 1.22, 95% CI 1.01-1.48) than boys in low-poverty areas (0-4.99%). Interactions between race/ethnicity and ZIP code-level poverty indicated that Hispanic boys living in high-poverty areas had a statistically significantly higher odds of HPV vaccine initiation (AOR 1.43, 95% CI 1.03-1.97) and series completion (AOR 1.56, 95% CI 1.05-2.32) than Hispanic boys in low-poverty areas. Non-Hispanic Black boys in high poverty areas had higher odds of initiation (AOR 2.23, 95% CI 1.33-3.75) and completion (AOR 2.61, 95% CI 1.06-6.44) than non-Hispanic Black boys in low-poverty areas. Rural/urban residence and population density were also significant factors, with boys from urban or densely populated areas having higher odds of initiation and completion compared to boys living in non-urban, less densely populated areas.
Higher HPV vaccination coverage in urban areas and among racial/ethnic minorities in areas with high poverty may be attributable to factors such as vaccine acceptance, health-care practices, and their access to HPV vaccines through the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free vaccines to uninsured and under-insured children. Given the low HPV vaccination rates among boys in the U.S., these results provide important evidence to inform public health interventions to increase HPV vaccination.