Since licensure of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in 2006, HPV vaccine coverage among US adolescents has increased but remains low compared with other recommended vaccines.
To systematically review the literature on barriers to HPV vaccination among US adolescents to inform future efforts to increase HPV vaccine coverage.
We searched PubMed and previous review articles to identify original research articles describing barriers to HPV vaccine initiation and completion among US adolescents. Only articles reporting data collected in 2009 or later were included. Findings from 55 relevant articles were summarized by target populations: health care professionals, parents, underserved and disadvantaged populations, and males.
Health care professionals cited financial concerns and parental attitudes and concerns as barriers to providing the HPV vaccine to patients. Parents often reported needing more information before vaccinating their children. Concerns about the vaccine’s effect on sexual behavior, low perceived risk of HPV infection, social influences, irregular preventive care, and vaccine cost were also identified as potential barriers among parents. Some parents of sons reported not vaccinating their sons because of the perceived lack of direct benefit. Parents consistently cited health care professional recommendations as one of the most important factors in their decision to vaccinate their children.
Conclusions and Relevance
Continued efforts are needed to ensure that health care professionals and parents understand the importance of vaccinating adolescents before they become sexually active. Health care professionals may benefit from guidance on communicating HPV recommendations to patients and parents. Further efforts are also needed to reduce missed opportunities for HPV vaccination when adolescents interface with the health care system. Efforts to increase uptake should take into account the specific needs of subgroups within the population. Efforts that address system-level barriers to vaccination may help to increase overall HPV vaccine uptake.