A Peer-Based Strategy to Overcome HPV Vaccination Inequities in Rural Communities: A Physical Distancing-Compliant Approach.
Critical reviews in eukaryotic gene expression
Adolescent, COVID-19, Female, Humans, Male, New England, Pandemics, Papillomavirus Infections, Papillomavirus Vaccines, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Physical Distancing, Public Health, Rural Population, SARS-CoV-2, Vaccination
The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is the world's first proven and effective vaccine to prevent cancers in males and females when administered pre-exposure. Like most of the US, barely half of Vermont teens are up-to-date with the vaccination, with comparable deficits in New Hampshire and Maine. The rates for HPV vaccine initiation and completion are as low as 33% in rural New England. Consequently, there is a compelling responsibility to communicate its importance to unvaccinated teenagers before their risk for infection increases. Messaging in rural areas promoting HPV vaccination is compromised by community-based characteristics that include access to appropriate medical care, poor media coverage, parental and peer influence, and skepticism of science and medicine. Current strategies are predominantly passive access to literature and Internet-based information. Evidence indicates that performance-based messaging can clarify the importance of HPV vaccination to teenagers and their parents in rural areas. Increased HPV vaccination will significantly contribute to the prevention of a broadening spectrum of cancers. Reducing rurality-based inequities is a public health priority. Development of a performance-based peer-communication intervention can capture a window of opportunity to provide increasingly effective and sustained HPV protection. An effective approach can be partnering rural schools and regional health teams with a program that is nimble and scalable to respond to public health policies and practices compliant with COVID-19 pandemic-related modifications on physical distancing and interacting in the foreseeable future.
Finley C, Dugan MJ, Carney JK, et al. A Peer-Based Strategy to Overcome HPV Vaccination Inequities in Rural Communities: A Physical Distancing-Compliant Approach. Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2021;31(1):61-69. doi:10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2021036945