Is Free Effective? An Analysis of HPV Vaccines and Hispanic Caregivers in the Outpatient Setting




Fernando, Shane PhD MS FRSPH
Tirloni, Adrianna


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Purpose: The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer in the United States, with Hispanic women suffering disproportionately from cervical cancer incidence and mortality. While the HPV vaccine has shown great success in the prevention of cervical cancer, vaccination rates among Hispanics remain low nationwide. This study’s purpose was to identify barriers among Hispanic caregivers and different vaccination opportunities. Methods: A paper-based multiple-choice survey consisting of 32 questions were given to caregivers of patients from the UNT Health Science Center Department of Pediatrics, while they were in the waiting room. Upon survey completion, a brief education session was conducted on HPV and the HPV vaccine. Logistic regression, controlled for income and education, was performed to assess the relationship between vaccination intent and vaccination options among Hispanic caregivers. Results: Hispanic caregivers were more likely to pay $25 for an HPV vaccination (OR 1.793, p=0.093) than participate in a free vaccination program (OR 1.392 p=0.377) or the federally funded Vaccine for Children program (OR 1.394, p=0.349). As income increases, the likelihood of paying $25 for an HPV vaccination increases (OR 1.138, p=0.132). The inverse effect was observed as education increased (OR 0.725, p=0.077). Conclusions: The results showed that Hispanic caregivers were more likely to pay for their children’s HPV vaccinations than participate in a free or federally funded program. A priori literature identifies cost as a barrier to minorities, often suggesting providing free vaccines, contrary to study findings. Further research is needed to determine if results remain in diverse populations.