Case Study

Promoting Timely Adolescent HPV Vaccination

Alisha, age 11, is in your office for her annual Texas Health Steps preventive medical checkup. In preparation for the checkup, you review her immunization history and find that she is up to date and scheduled to receive the recommended 11-year vaccinations – MenACWY, Tdap, and HPV, plus an annual flu shot. Your next steps may determine whether Alisha receives these recommended immunizations, including the vaccine that protects her from cancers caused by HPV.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

portrait of pre-teen girl

HPV vaccination lags far behind the Healthy People 2020 goal.

Among adolescents 13 through 17 years, 48.6 percent were up to date with HPV vaccination as of 2017. The Healthy People 2020 goal is 80 percent.

Texas lags behind the nation in adolescent HPV vaccination.

In Texas, about 40 percent of adolescents are up to date with HPV vaccination. The rate varies across the state, with rural areas generally having lower vaccination rates than urban areas:

  • Bexar County – 46.2 percent
  • Dallas County – 35.7 percent
  • El Paso County – 60.0 percent
  • Houston metro area – 55.2 percent
  • Travis County – 52.0 percent
  • Rest of state – 36.6 percent

Source: National Immunization Study – Teen, United States (2017)

Adolescents are less likely to be up to date on HPV than other vaccines.

  • Tdap – 88.7 percent
  • MenACWY – 85.1 percent
  • MMR – 92.1 percent
  • Hep B – 91.9 percent
  • Varicella – 90.1 percent (history of varicella disease or receipt of > 2 vaccine doses)
  • HPV – 48.6 percent

How you approach immunizing Alisha – including administering the HPV vaccine – may have long-term consequences. Check out our related courses to learn more about HPV vaccination and how you can promote timely administration of immunizations as part of Texas Health Steps checkups.

Why It Matters

The HPV vaccine is most effective when administered before a young woman is exposed to HPV through sexual activity. For that reason, administering the two-dose vaccine at ages 11 and 12 years provides the greatest level of protection. Your consistent recommendation of the HPV vaccine for adolescent patients is an important way to protect their long-term health.

Related Courses

About Texas Health Steps

Texas Health Steps’ award-winning online program offers FREE CE courses for primary care providers and other health professionals. These courses offer updated clinical, regulatory, and best practice guidelines for a range of preventive health, oral health, mental health, and case management topics.