The Atlantic November 13, 2013
Only one in three American girls is vaccinated against HPV. That will mean thousands of gratuitous cancer deaths. Young people in the South are especially unlikely to get the vaccine, according to a new study. In research out this week, a team at UTMB led by Mahbubur Rahman reported some interesting trends in why people don't get vaccinated. They saw that vaccination initiation and completion correlated with age, marital status, education, income, routine medical check-up during the past year, flu vaccination, and health care coverage. "Women with lower incomes were less likely to initiate the HPV vaccine," Rahman wrote in the medical journal Vaccine, "which has been reported as a common trend." The same was true for women without health care coverage. Lack of insurance was a "major barrier ... due to the high cost of the vaccine." Vaccination programs, though, have been shown to overcome socioeconomic disparities. Rahman writes that "assistance for low-income adults could eliminate disparities in HPV uptake among this population."