Assessing the Relationship Between Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Health Literacy and Caregiver Primary Language




Fernando, Shane PhD, MS, FRSPH
Nguyen, Katherine OMS-II


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Background: Although the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine has shown to greatly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and HPV infection rates, HPV vaccination rates remain low within the United States. Studies suggest that HPV health literacy is correlated with several social determinants, but the relationship between caregiver primary language and HPV health literacy is less well-established. Objectives: Determine whether the lack of physician-caregiver communication regarding the HPV vaccine is a barrier in increasing HPV vaccination rates in children whose caregivers do not speak English as their primary language at home. Hypothesis: Caregivers who do not speak English as their primary language (NE) have lower HPV health literacy than caregivers who speak English as the primary language (E). Methods: 165 caregivers completed a multiple-choice paper survey regarding their knowledge and perception of the HPV vaccine within the Pediatrics and Women’s Health department of the UNT Health Science Center. After completion of the survey, caregivers then engaged in a short education session and completed the same survey via phone or email 10-20 days after the initial encounter. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square analysis. Results: NE caregivers were less likely to have heard of HPV (p Conclusions: NE caregivers have lower HPV health literacy rates and are less likely to give the HPV vaccine to their children. The variance between the two sets of parents indicate that the lack of physician-caregiver discussion regarding the HPV vaccine may be a cause of the low HPV vaccination rates within this population. A priori literature suggests NE caregivers are at a disadvantage in learning about the preventative benefits of vaccines. These results highlight the potential benefit that HPV health education by physicians and allied health professionals can provide in efforts to increase HPV vaccination rates among children of NE caregivers.