Moving the Needle to Increase HPV Vaccination Rates
International HPV Awareness Day is March 4, 2024

By Pamela Tom | HPVANDME Founder

Awareness is defined as, “concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.” However, awareness is not enough. Knowing or understanding about HPV cancers will not eliminate them. Everyone needs to know that the HPV vaccine prevents six HPV cancers.

The Lowdown on Today’s HPV Vaccination Rates

The U.S. target aims at increasing HPV vaccination rates to 80% by the year 2030. We are not even close. In 2021, 58.5% of adolescents aged 13-15 years had received 2 or 3 doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as recommended. In 2022, the number crept up to a still dismal 62%.

Why are vaccination rates so low? A 2019 study sheds some light. Researchers used the 2016 National Immunization Survey – Teens (NIS-Teen) to determine the barriers for vaccination uptake.

• Around 14.16% of the adolescents were not recommended by the family physicians to get the HPV vaccinations.
• Cost was not a concern to get the vaccination for 88.65% of the adolescents.
• 14.32% of the adolescents reported that safety and side effects were the major concern for getting the HPV vaccination.
• About 87.37% of the adolescents did not have family and parental support for the vaccine uptake.
• Religion especially in its orthodox form prevented 89.14% of the adolescents from HPV vaccine uptake.

Moving the Needle to Increase HPV Vaccination Rates

If we look at these bullet points closely, we see where we must focus.

  1. Building tools for family physicians to recommend the HPV vaccine
  2. Educating adolescents and parents about the safety and side effects How is it safe, how does the risk of any possible side effects measure against the benefits of the vaccine’s efficacy?
  3. Helping adolescents understand how to have conversations with parents so both may learn about HPV vaccine
  4. Reaching out and providing information to clergy and teen church groups.


Teens for Vaccines provided teens with information about how to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with parents; the advice may also be applied to helping teens talk about the HPV vaccine.

HPVANDME produces easy to understand videos about HPV cancer prevention. Advice from doctors; public service announcements; personal stories, and advocacy work. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Mayo Clinic achieved a nearly 20 percent boost in adolescent HPV vaccination rates using a comprehensive strategy. Try it! Mayo reports, “The strategy involved mailing reminders to parents about their child’s eligibility for the HPV vaccine and simultaneously giving healthcare providers feedback about successful HPV vaccine administration among the patients they had recently seen.


The HPV vaccine prevents six HPV cancers.