Increasing HPV Vaccination Rates

HPV-Free WA Taskforce

Did you know that Washington state is down 13% overall in number of vaccines administered compared to pre-pandemic levels?  Based on studies, the National HPV Roundtable estimates that it may take 10 years to catch up on cancer preventing HPV immunizations.  As we approach the busy back-to-school months of sports physicals and well-child visits the WA HPV Taskforce would like to give you some tools to help increase your HPV vaccination rates.   Over 50% of HPV and adolescent vaccines are given between July and October.  Being prepared for those months is key to protecting your patients from HPV related cancers and other vaccine preventable diseases. 

  1. Start recommending HPV vaccine at ages 9 and 10.

HPV vaccine can be started at age 9 and doing so leads to higher rates of finishing the series on time at age 11-12, providing the best cancer prevention for your patients. Providers find that recommending HPV at age 9 is easier and faster to do. 

  1. Standardize your vaccine schedule AND post it in the lobby and every exam room.

This is important so all providers are using the same schedule, keeping the message consistent and reducing errors and missed opportunities.  A schedule on the wall gives parents something to read while they are waiting and adds legitimacy to your recommendations.  Don’t have time to make a branded schedule right now?  You can order free adolescent schedules (8×11.5 and poster size) from the WA HPV Taskforce and we can add your branding to it. This intervention is one of the easiest things you can do to raise your immunization rates.  Order link is here.

  1. Make a strong recommendation every time AND don’t miss any opportunities to vaccinate.

Research shows that a strong announcement approach is one of the best tools to increase immunization rates.  Use statements like “Today you are due for one vaccine that will protect against HPV related cancer – any questions?”  or “Yes! I recommend the HPV vaccine for cancer prevention – this vaccine prevents over 30,000 cases of cancer every year.”  Make sure to check immunization status of patients at EVERY visit – don’t miss the opportunity to vaccinate.

  1. Prepare the office and staff for the rush of back-to-school vaccine requests.

Consider having some “vaccine only” nurse visit days to accommodate the back-to-school rush in August.  Schedule more staff for back-to-school days or have some weekend or evening vaccine appointments.  Stock up on needed vaccines as volume will increase.   

We appreciate all your hard work to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you are short-staffed and working long hours.  Thanks for all you do!  Remember HPV vaccination is Cancer Prevention. 

RESOURCES

Don’t wait to Vaccinate poster from the American Cancer Society:

Get free copies of this poster from WA HPV FREE Taskforce with this order form:

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