Culturally Tailored Messaging Improved HPV Vaccination Rates Among Asian American Adolescents


Key Points

  • Just 66% of adolescents aged 13–17 receive the first dose of the HPV vaccine. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups, Asian American adolescents have the lowest HPV vaccination rates.
  • A culturally tailored multilevel strategy designed to remove barriers to HPV vaccination among low-income, mostly Chinese American adolescents significantly increased uptake of at least 1 shot of the HPV vaccine: 76.36% vs 10%.

A pilot study by Ma et al examining the intervention effect on the outcome of a provider-based, culturally tailored, multilevel intervention to promote human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among Asian American adolescents has found that the strategy significantly increased the uptake of at least one dose of the HPV vaccine in this population. The study was presented at the 11th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved (Abstract A029).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that HPV vaccination could prevent more than 90% of the 33,700 HPV-related cancers diagnosed in the United States each year and recommends that children aged 11 or 12 receive 2 doses of HPV vaccine. Currently, just 66% of adolescents aged 13 to 17 years receive the first dose of the vaccine. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups, Asian American adolescents have the lowest HPV vaccination rates.

Study Methodology

The researchers designed culturally tailored messages for pediatricians, community health workers, parents, and adolescents to remove barriers to receiving the HPV vaccine. They recruited 180 low-income, mostly Chinese American parents with low English proficiency into the study (110 for the intervention group and 70 for the control group). The parents were recruited from primary care community health centers in Philadelphia and New York from 2015 to 2017. 

The parents had 290 adolescents aged 11 to 18 (170 for the intervention group, 120 for the control group). The researchers compared the uptake of the first shot of the HPV vaccination at the 6-month postintervention assessment and completion rate of 3 shots.

Study Results

The researchers found that the uptake of at least 1 shot of the HPV vaccine was significantly higher among the intervention group (76.36%) than the control group (10.00%). The difference between the intervention and control groups remained statistically significant (odds ratio = 38.47, 95% confidence interval = 13.99–105.80) even when controlled for demographics and health-related covariates, lending support to the significant, strong effects of the intervention on vaccination uptake.

“Despite the study limitation in small sample size, these pilot data are extremely encouraging and promising,” said Grace X. Ma, PhD, Associate Dean for Health Disparities, Director of the Center for Asian Health, Laura H. Carnell Professor, and Professor in Clinical Sciences in the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, and lead author of the study, in a statement. “We need to test this intervention in larger, more rigorous clinical trials, but I believe that this multilevel and technology-based intervention has great potential to increase HPV vaccination rates in diverse Asian American communities and can be adapted by other ethnic populations.”

Dr. Ma declared no potential conflicts of interest. Funding for this study was provided by the National Cancer Institute.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.